California man pleads guilty to running college admissions fraud scheme: court hearing

Elias Hubbard
March 14, 2019

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among more than four dozen people charged in a nationwide college admissions cheating scandal that involved wealthy individuals purportedly paying up to $6.5 million to place their children into elite universities, say court records released Tuesday.

William Rick Singer, a longtime college prep adviser, greased the wheels for his clients' children by arranging to either cheat on SAT or ACT tests or have the kid apply as a recruited athlete, Massachusetts US Attorney Andrew Lelling said.

William "Rick" Singer, 58, pleaded guilty in Boston federal court on Tuesday to charges including racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. 'I put everything in place'.

The scheme relied on bribes, phony test takers and even doctored photos depicting non-athletic applicants as elite competitors to land college slots for the offspring of rich parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

In a June 2018 call with a wealthy parent, Singer described how his scheme worked, saying: "What we do is we help the wealthiest families in the USA get their kids into school".

The money was given to Singer's fake charity, and in a recorded phone call Singer clarified that the money was actually for getting their daughters into USC crew, according to the complaint.

"There were essentially two kinds of fraud that Singer was selling", Lelling said of the accusations, which run from 2011 to 2019. They want this thing done. "And so they want in at certain schools".

Hollywood, college athletics and the academic world collided Tuesday when federal prosecutors charged almost 50 people in a scheme where college coaches and administrators were bribed by parents to help kids get into elite schools around the country.

'Before her senior year, hopefully we can have this thing done, so that in the fall, before December 15th, you already know she's in.

The parents paid Singer's charity, Key Worldwide Foundation, which received $25 million in total to guarantee the admissions.

Those charitable donations were then funneled to the coaches and administrators at various colleges.

Some of the 33 parents charged Tuesday with cheating to get their children into prestigious schools may have paid enough in bribes to cover the full cost of a college education and then some. 'And that occurred very frequently'. This makes ideal sense, as actress Felicity Huffman was arrested at gunpoint over the matter, while Full House star Lori Loughlin's television career (and Twitter feed) have become ample grounds for rethinking.

Parents of prospective students conspired with a college entrance consultant to beat the system and ensure their students were admitted or had a better chance to be admitted to certain colleges or universities, including Yale, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, USC, Wake Forest and others. He also noted that the schools were not involved in Singer's scheme.

In total, 50 people - including more than 30 parents and nine coaches - were charged Tuesday in the scheme. None of the children were charged on Tuesday.

The student would then take the test with one of Singer's paid-off administrators at locations in Houston and California, where his proctors would then change answers as needed to boost the scores.

"According to the charging documents, Singer facilitated cheating on the SAT and ACT exams for his clients by instructing them to seek extended time for their children on college entrance exams, which included having the children purport to have learning disabilities in order to obtain the required medical documentation", the U.S. Justice Department explained, in part, in an online statement.

The scheme began to fall apart in October a year ago when the IRS audited Key Worldwide and began to look into donations made by parents whose children were then admitted to USC.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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