Actress Felicity Huffman was released on a $250,000 bond Tuesday night after her arrest in a nationwide college admissions scandal in which she was accused of using bribes to ensure her daughter attends a top college.
A magistrate judge in Los Angeles said the “Desperate Housewives” star could be released as long as she remained inside the United States, according to The Associated Press. She was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.
Huffman, 56, is accused of paying $15,000 disguised as a charitable donation to enable her elder daughter to cheat on the SAT, which she took in December 2017. Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, who has not been charged, had arranged to do the same for their younger daughter but then allegedly deciding not to.
Court documents showed that Huffman and Macy met with a cooperating witness at their home in Los Angeles, where the witness told the couple he “controlled” a testing center for college entrance exams and could have their daughter’s SAT answers secretly changed, AP reported. The couple allegedly agreed to the plan.
Huffman opened the door early Tuesday morning to FBI agents who had their guns drawn, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a source familiar with the incident. She spent several hours in federal custody before appearing in court to hear her charges. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told the L.A. Times that the agency did not use a tactical team to arrest the actress but that FBI agents “are armed and may draw their weapons as a precautionary measure.”
Huffman and “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin are two of at least 40 celebrities, executives and athletic officials charged Tuesday in a massive bribery scheme, where prosecutors said wealthy parents paid up to $6 million in bribes to college coaches and workers at testing centers to help their children get admission into elite, selective colleges. Loughlin was not taken into custody Tuesday and, along with her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, is accused of paying $500,000 to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California by having them falsely appear as athletic recruits.
William “RIck” Singer, the founder of an admissions consulting company, pleaded guilty Tuesday to running the scheme.
Huffman’s next court date is March 29 in Boston.
A representative of Huffman did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.