The architect of a notorious US college admissions scam has been jailed for three-and-a-half years. William “Rick” Singer went from wealthy parents to paying university coaches to get their kids into elite colleges. More than 50 people have been found guilty of this scam.
Among those convicted were Singer’s clients, actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. Prosecutors had asked for a six-year prison sentence for Singer, who helped lead a years-long investigation into the scandal, dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.”
They demanded that Singer pay $10.6m (£8.79m) because he had not paid tax on the money he received as part of the scheme. But Singer’s lawyers argued that he should be sentenced to 12 months of house arrest or six months in prison because he cooperated with the investigation.
Singer, a consultant, admitted in 2019 that he helped facilitate a US college admissions scandal by transferring money from parents to coaches who fraudulently registered non-athletics as recruits to get them into college.
He helped facilitate cheating in college entrance exams. The scandal attracted worldwide media attention, with some of the parents being celebrities or CEOs of major companies. It involved Ms. Loughlin and her husband, the designer Mossimo Giannulli, who allegedly paid $500,000 in bribes with Singer’s help to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California (USC) as fake rowing team recruits.
Mrs. Loughlin was jailed for two months in 2020 for her role in the scandal, while her husband was jailed for five months. Overall, Singer took home more than $25 million from his clients and paid more than $7 million in bribes to coaches at elite US colleges, including USC, Yale University, and Stanford University, prosecutors said.
In a November court filing before his sentencing, Singer said he felt “shame, remorse, and remorse” about his role in the scandal. He said he “lost everything,” including all his possessions, and now lives in a trailer park for seniors. “I was (correctly) judged by family, friends, and the professional community to be forever infamous as the ‘mastermind of the varsity blues,'” he said.