Less than 24 hours after being taken into custody for her alleged involvement in a massive college admissions fraud scheme, actress Felicity Huffman has reportedly been released from jail.
Huffman, along with “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin, is one of 50 people accused of participating in a multi-level cheating and bribery scheme that allowed wealthy parents to circumvent the law in order for their children to be accepted into top schools, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday. FBI agents, with guns drawn, took Huffman into custody Tuesday morning in her Los Angeles home and transported her to a detention center, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Huffman, who has been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, appeared in court briefly on Tuesday afternoon, where a judge ordered her to surrender her passport, Deadline reports. Macy, who has not been charged in relation to the case, was reportedly in court to support his wife. Huffman secured her release on $250,000 bail and she is scheduled to appear in a Boston court for a preliminary hearing on March 29, according to the outlet. She has not yet been required to enter a plea.
Following her release from federal custody, Huffman can be seen walking through the courthouse in footage published by TMZ, but she did not offer any comment in the short video.
Investigators have identified William Rick Singer, the founder of a college prep business, as the mastermind behind the complex scheme, NBC News reports. Singer is alleged to have accepted bribes from wealthy parents in exchange for helping their children cheat on the SATs by either having someone else take the test for them or by paying off the exam proctor to correct any wrong answers. Authorities also say that Singer used college athletics as a route for wealthy students to gain admittance to sought-after universities; by creating fake athlete profiles, Singer was able to ensure that some of his client’s children could gain admission as student athletes.
Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, allegedly made a “charitable contribution” of $15,000 to Singer’s organization, in order to “participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter,” according to an affidavit. Authorities say that Huffman later considered pursuing the process again on behalf of her younger daughter, but ultimately did not do so.
Huffman, Loughlin, and Loughlin’s husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, were recorded talking about the unlawful plot during conversations with an FBI informant. Giannulli was arrested on the same day as Huffman but has already been released on bail, according to TMZ. Loughlin, who was not home when the FBI served their arrest warrant, is expected to surrender to authorities on Wednesday.
News of the scheme has led to swift backlash for the celebrities involved, specifically for Loughlin, whose 19-year-old daughter Olivia Jade was previously criticized for saying that she “[didn’t] really care” about college aside from “game days” and “partying.”
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