Who is Rick Singer?  Where is the brain of Operation Varsity Blues today?


It has been two years since news of the college admissions scandal broke, sending top celebrities, financial backers and Ivy League sports coaches to jail. There have been podcasts, books, and even a lifetime scripted telepic based on the meandering tale. Now there is also a docudrama: Netflix Operation Varsity Blues: the college admissions scandal delves into the seedy underworld of college recruiting and efforts to get rich parents to go – and the hundreds of thousands of dollars they’re willing to pay – to have their children illegally admitted to elite colleges .

The Netflix documentary focuses on a man named Rick Singer, dubbed the “mastermind” of the fake business. Here’s everything you need to know about Singer’s illegal recruiting operation and why he’s still not in jail.

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Who is Rick Singer?

Singer was reportedly born in Santa Monica, California, in 1960. He grew up playing sports and went on to study track and field at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He joined the basketball and baseball teams and enjoyed an ‘ultra-competitive streak. [that] made him a lightning rod on campus ”, according to USA today.

In the 1980s, Singer channeled this energy into a coaching career at Sierra College, a college near Sacramento, California. It was in Sierra that Singer would have first embarked on college recruiting. Jeff Caraska, columnist for the Auburn [California] Newspaper who interviewed Singer in 1988, said USA today this singer, “sold parents the idea that” I can get your child’s name known and increase their chances of getting a Division I or Division II scholarship.

“Nobody did that back then, at least [not] this way, ”Caraska said. USA today. “And the parents were very excited about it.”

Singer eventually quit coaching and took full-time college counseling.

Rick Singer exiting a courthouse wearing a blue Patagonia jacket


Bribes, Cheating, and Fake Photos: How Singer’s College Admission Scam Worked.

In 2007, Singer launched his company, “The Key”. Although The Key appears to have provided legitimate college counseling services, it eventually turned into a widespread “racketeering business”, prosecutors say.

Here’s how it worked: Singer told wealthy parents he could get their kids into elite middle schools through what he called a “side door.” In most cases, that meant cheating.

Rick Singer coming out of a courthouse

Rick Singer.

Boston Globe

As of 2011, Singer began accepting payments of up to $ 75,000 to help teens cheat on standardized exams like the ACT and SAT by bribing test proctors in Los Angeles and Houston, according to an act. accusation. He also connected his clients with a psychologist who diagnosed students with learning disabilities in order to give them more time for testing.

According to prosecutors, Singer bribed coaches at schools like Yale, Stanford, UCLA and USC, who accepted money in exchange for reserving seats on their team for his client’s children – students who didn’t. had no intention of playing sports.

In 2012, Singer created the Key Worldwide Foundation, which marketed itself as a charity helping underserved youth. Federal officials believe it was in fact a front for laundering bribes. The nonprofit organization’s tax-exempt status has helped Singer’s clients record their “donations” as tax deductions.

A former admissions counselor at an elite university told ELLE.com that she “wasn’t even a little shocked” by the scandal, because “it has been going on forever.” More information from the admissions counselor here.

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Singer has self-published two books and presented his college consulting business as a reality show.

One of the biggest takeaways from Netflix’s docudrama is how untouchable Singer thought he was. As seen in the movie, he actually submitted an audition tape showcasing his business as a reality TV concept. You can watch her full audition tape on TMZ here. “It’s a game,” Singer says in the clip. “My job is to mentor children and families throughout the college entrance process. It’s incredible. It’s so competitive getting your child into school today. “

Singer has also self-published two books, Enter: get admission to your college of choice and GEstablish personal brands: a personal brand is essential for admission to the university of your choice. Both offered advice on how to get into prestigious colleges.

How did Singer get caught?

The trick that led authorities to investigate Singer came from Los Angeles financier Morrie Tobin, who was allegedly investigated in another fraud case. Tobin told investigators that Rudy Meredith, Yale’s women’s football coach, accepted a bribe from Singer in exchange for his daughter’s entry to school, according to CNN. A year-long investigation followed which ultimately resulted in 50 arrests – from coaches to parents to Ivy League athletic directors. (Meredith ended up pleading guilty to conspiracy and honest services wire fraud linked to the scandal.)

What is “Operation Varsity Blues”?

In September 2018, Singer began cooperating with federal investigators, who asked him to record his phone calls with clients. Singer would mistakenly tell parents that the IRS was auditing his foundation and that they shouldn’t mention bribes to college coaches. According to CNN, Singer made 34 phone calls under the direction of law enforcement. CNN also reported that Singer did “a lot of others without their direction.” More than 50 people were ultimately charged with fraud. Many have pleaded guilty, but not all.

Lori Loughlin arriving at court

Lori Loughlin arriving at court.


Lori Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison.

The Full house The actress and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have been accused of paying $ 500,000 to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli, accepted to the University of Southern California as team rookies. rowing. Loughlin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud under a plea agreement, while Giannulli pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and to a head of wire and courier fraud in honest services. In a Zoom hearing, Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison, according to the Associated press. Her husband was sentenced to five months in prison.

Olivia Jade gave her first in-depth interview about the college admissions scandal on Discussion on the red table during her mother’s time away, revealing that she had not spoken to any of her parents since they were in prison. “It was tough,” she says. “I think for anyone, whatever the situation, you don’t want your parents going to jail. But I also think that it is necessary for us to move forward and to move forward.

Loughlin was released for two days in early December. Here’s everything you need to know about her time in prison – from a former inmate who served time at the same facility.

Felicity Huffman walking down a street outside the courthouse in a black suit

Felicity Huffman arrives for a court appearance.

Boston Globe

Felicity Huffman spent two weeks in prison.

Desperate housewives Actress Felicity Huffman has been accused of paying $ 15,000 to boost her daughter’s SAT score. The correctional institute where Huffman ended his 14-day jail has been called a “club fed” for its cozy amenities. As a Twitter user Put the, “She’s on vacation of life right now.” For more on Huffman’s time in prison, read ELLE.com’s article on the Federal Corrections Institute in Dublin, where inmates can take zumba and yoga classes.

Where’s Singer now?

Singer pleaded guilty in March 2019 to four counts, including conspiracy of money laundering, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice. He has yet to be sentenced as he is set to testify in the trials of other defendants, which could potentially influence the length of his sentence. According to the Justice Department website, no sentencing hearing is scheduled for Singer at this time.

As the Netflix documentary shows, Singer was spotted driving a luxury car in Sacramento. He swims twice a day at a local tennis club in a Speedo and does yoga and push-ups there. A source in the documentary claims he was heard bragging that he would not go to jail, although he pleaded guilty.

In a video captured by C13Originals that appears on TMZ, Singer avoids questions from a cameraman, jumps into a Porsche with two paddleboards strapped to the roof, and leaves.

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