The apparent mastermind of a $25 million college entrance exam cheating scheme published a book in 2014 that stressed the need to establish a “personal brand” to get into a top school.
William Rick Singer’s personal brand now includes an array of criminal charges that could send him to jail for a maximum of 65 years. Singer admitted Tuesday that he helped bring down his own criminal enterprise by becoming “a cooperating witness” and wearing a wire for the FBI. The ensuing snare eventually caught Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman among others.
“I am absolutely responsible for it,” Singer, 58, told a federal judge in Boston. He pleaded guilty to all the charges he was facing. “I put everything in place. I put all the people in place and made the payments directly.”
“Did you know it was illegal?” Judge Rya Zobel asked.
“Yes,” Singer replied.
Singer lives in Sacramento and Newport Beach, California. He was arrested after the FBI investigation that was dubbed Operation Varsity Blues exposed a network of well-heeled parents who allegedly paid Singer millions to boost their kids’ chances of getting into elite colleges such as Yale University, Georgetown University and Stanford University.
Singer is the author of “Getting In: Gaining Admission to the College of your Choice.” He was charged with racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice, according to a criminal complaint.
“He is very remorseful for getting into this mess” and is cooperating with investigators, Singer’s lawyer, Donald Heller, said after the court appearance.
Singer’s lawyer said that he has been in the college prep business since 1994, and “he’s helped a lot of people pro-bono who got into college.”
“The sad thing is he didn’t prep Trump kids because he probably would have gotten a pardon,” he said.
Singer founded The Edge College & Career Network, LLC, also known as “The Key,” in 2007. He incorporated the “for-profit college counseling and preparation business” based in Sacramento with the state of California in 2012, according to court papers.
Singer also established a nonprofit corporation in Newport Beach, California, called the Key Worldwide Foundation as a purported charity around 2012, the papers state.