Actress Felicity Huffman pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

In this file photo taken on April 3, 2019, actress Felicity Huffman exits the courthouse after facing charges for allegedly conspiring to commit mail fraud and other charges in the college admissions scandal at the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston. (AFP)
Updated 09 April 2019
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Actress Felicity Huffman pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

  • The Boston Globe said that as part of a plea agreement, Huffman’s sentencing guidelines would be between four to 10 months in prison

NEW YORK: Actress Felicity Huffman and a dozen other parents agreed on Monday to plead guilty to using bribery to get their children into prestigious universities.
Huffman, 56, best known for her role in the “Desperate Housewives” series, agreed to plead guilty to paying $15,000 to help her eldest daughter get better scores on the SAT college entrance exam, the Massachusetts Department of Justice said in a statement.
Huffman’s equally famous husband, actor William H. Macy of “Fargo” fame, was not charged in connection with the college admissions scandal.
The Massachusetts Department of Justice said that in addition to Huffman, another dozen parents charged in the case had also agreed to plead guilty.
Huffman could face a maximum of up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud but is not expected to receive such a stiff sentence.
The Boston Globe said that as part of a plea agreement, Huffman’s sentencing guidelines would be between four to 10 months in prison and prosecutors would recommend she serve the “low end” of that scale.
The newspaper also published a statement from Huffman in which she apologized for her actions.
“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community,” she said.
“I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.
“My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her,” Huffman said. “My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”

Another television actress, Lori Loughlin, known for her role on “Full House,” has also been charged in the case but did not enter a plea on Monday.
Loughlin and her husband are accused of paying $500,000 in 2016 and 2017 so that their two daughters could gain entrance into the University of Southern California by posing as members of the rowing team.
The actresses were the most famous of the 50 people indicted in a scam to help children of the American elite gain entry into top US colleges.
Some of the other parents involved were CEOs or partners in major law firms.
Some of them paid as much as $400,000 to get their child into the college of their choice.
The ringleader behind the scam, William “Rick” Singer, who authorities say was paid about $25 million dollars to bribe coaches and university administrators, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with authorities.
Besides USC, some of the universities targeted in the elaborate cheating scam include Yale, Stanford, UCLA and Georgetown. None of the schools or the students have been charged in the case.
According to prosecutors, the accused parents paid a firm run by Singer to cheat on college entrance exams for their children or to bribe coaches to help non-athletic students get scholarships.


Drones disrupt flights at Singapore airport for second time in a week

Updated 25 June 2019
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Drones disrupt flights at Singapore airport for second time in a week

SINGAPORE: Unauthorized drone flying caused the second spate of delays and flight diversions in less than a week at Singapore’s Changi airport on Monday night, the city-state’s aviation authority said.
Around 18 departures and arrivals were delayed and seven flights were diverted from the global transit hub due to “bad weather and unauthorized drone activities,” the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said in a statement on Tuesday.
The disruption lasted about an hour, it said.
Last week Changi, one of Asia’s busiest hubs, closed one of its runways for short periods due to unauthorized drone flying, disrupting 38 flights.
It is against the law in Singapore to fly a drone within five kilometers (three miles) of an airport without a permit.
Authorities are investigating.
A surge in the availability of drones has become an increasing security concern for airports around the world.
In December, drone sightings caused three days of travel chaos at London’s Gatwick airport, resulting in the cancelation or diversion of about 1,000 flights at an estimated cost of more than 50 million pounds ($64 million).