Felicity Huffman has appeared in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles to face a charge of paying a bribe to boost her daughter's university admission score.
Judge Alexander MacKinnon set her bond at $US250,000 ($A353,300).
Huffman's husband William H. Macy, who was not indicted, sat in the front row in court.
"Full House" actor Lori Loughlin was not in court, but her husband Mossimo Giannulli's bond was set at $US1 million, secured against the couple's home. Huffman and Giannulli both later posted bond and left the courthouse.
The next court date is set for March 29 in Boston for both Huffman and Mossimo, who surrendered their passports to the court. Both were barred from travelling outside the continental US.
Huffman answered "yes" when asked if she understood the charges.
Her lawyer Evan Jenness had asked she be released on her own recognizance, but the request was refused.
Federal prosecutor Adam Schleifer argued that a $US250,000 bond was warranted, noting that her real estate assets are valued at more than $US20 million, in addition to $US4 million in liquid securities.
Schleifer also argued that Huffman's alleged crime "bespeaks dishonesty, which is something the government takes seriously."
Huffman shook her head in response.
Schleifer pressed the argument further, claiming that Huffman's "conduct shows a complete willingness to violate norms of conduct, and part with money to take a shortcut."
Therefore, he argued, a substantial bond amount would be needed to secure her appearance at future court dates.
Jenness countered that Huffman is a mother with substantial ties to the community.
"This is not the kind of person who is going to become an international fugitive," she said.
Huffman is one of 46 people charged in the largest university admissions scheme in US history. Also charged are numerous CEOs, investors, and other elite professionals.
Huffman was arrested at her Los Angeles home on Tuesday morning. Although Macy was not charged in the case, the affidavit states that "Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan."
Schleifer, the prosecutor, stated in court that Macy is "at minimum, a witness" in the case.
Loughlin was not at home on Tuesday morning, and has not yet been arrested. Authorities are working to negotiate her surrender. She, her husband, and Huffman each face a single count of mail fraud in connection with the scheme.
Loughlin and her husband are accused of paying $US500,000 to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California.
In all, federal prosecutors filed charges against 33 parents, some of whom allegedly paid millions of dollars to get their kids into elite universities.
The scheme allegedly centred around William "Rick" Singer, an admissions consultant. Singer allegedly developed a network of college coaches to help his clients get into selective universities.
Singer agreed to plead guilty in the case.
"We're in uncharted territory here," said Peter Elikann, a criminal defence lawyer.
"This is about as unpopular a crime as you can get. The bottom line is people will be angry about all the good, hard-working students who did everything right and played by rules and are not in these schools because an unqualified person stole their spot."
© AP 2019