Felicity Huffman is a free woman once again.
11 days after the disgraced actress reported to the Federal Correctional Institution Dublin in Northern California for a 14-day sentence, the result of her guilty plea in the face of mail fraud and honest services mail fraud charges stemming from the college entrance exam cheating scandal dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by Feds that gripped the nation thanks to its Hollywood connections—Full House actress Lori Loughlin, who's currently awaiting trial on a slew of charges to which she's pleaded not guilty, was also ensnared by the investigation—the erstwhile Desperate Housewives star has been released from custody, seeing days shaved off her official sentencing due to the time spent in custody when she was arrested on charges back in March and a policy that allows the Bureau of Prisons to release an inmate with a release date on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday on the last preceding weekday unless deemed otherwise necessary to detain until the scheduled release date.
The 56-year-old actress, the first of more than 40 parents to receive sentencing in the alleged $25 million racketeering scheme (the largest in U.S. history), found herself behind bars after mastermind William "Rick" Singer of the Edge Colelge & Career Network (who pleaded guilty in March to racketeering charges) allegedly arranged for her and husband William H. Macy's eldest daughter Sofia Macy to take her SATs at a testing center where a proctor was paid to correct any of her wrong answers. The couple then allegedly made a $15,000 "purported charitable contribution" to Singer's charity, which the FBI says was used to launder money.
"On the way to the testing center, I thought to myself, 'Turn around, turn the car around,'" Huffman said at her sentencing. "One of the hardest things was after my arrest, my daughter said, 'I don't know who you are anymore.' I am so sorry Sophia. I was frightened, I was stupid and I was so wrong. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done. I have inflicted more damage than i could have imagined. I realize not that love and truth must go hand and hand."
While her (admittedly very few) days spent rocking the jail-issued dark green jumpsuit at the all-female, minimum security facility located just east of San Francisco, which houses about 1,230 inmates, are over, Huffman's still got a ways to go in terms of completing her sentencing. She remains on supervised release for one year (aka probation) and must complete 250 hours of community service and pay a $30,000 fine for her crime.
Prior to surrendering herself to federal custody, Huffman and her daughter Sophia had already toured a Los Angeles center that supports homeless teens as a means of getting ahead of the community service component of her sentence. "It's something that Felicity expressed an interest in," an source told E! News in September. "She met a lot of people and seemed to be taking it all very seriously."
As she admitted in her statement made at her sentencing, "I look forward to doing my community service hours and making a positive impact on my community. I also plan to continue making contributions wherever I can well after those service hours are completed. I can promise you that in the months and years to come that I will try and live a more honest life, serve as a better role model for my daughters and family and continue to contribute my time and energies wherever I am needed."
"Felicity is doing OK. Its been stressful and emotionally draining, but she is hanging in there," a source told us in the days leading up to her release. Having received strength from Macy, who visited her twice over one weekend, and their youngest daughter Georgia, who tagged along with her dad for one of his visits—Sophia, evidently still nursing some complicated feelings over her mother's actions, appears to have sat the trip out—Huffman is looking forward to putting prison behind her, the insider continued. "When she is released she will focus on her community service and putting her life back together. She wants to be with her family and just hug them tightly."
As for her career in Hollywood, the celebrated actress, known not only for her Emmy-winning work on the long-running ABC soap, but her Oscar-nominated performance in Transamerica, among many other lauded performances, is hoping that the town that's been known to give so many a second chance will extend that same courtesy her way.
"She hopes to work again in the future," our insider explained. "Hollywood is a small town and nobody has anything bad to say about her. She feels like she is paying her dues and has shown remorse for her actions. She hopes that she will be accepted again. She is well respected for her work and hopes that she can rebuild her reputation and let her work speak for itself."
After all, who doesn't love a comeback story?