Varsity Blues’ Mastermind Rick Singer Sentenced To Prison For 3.5 Years!
The national college admissions bribery scheme’s mastermind, which also included celebrities, influential business people, and other parents who exploited their riches and influence to buy their children’s admission to elite universities, received a 3 1/2-year prison sentence on Wednesday.
The sentencing for Rick Singer, 62, is the harshest sentence imposed in the massive scandal that embarrassed some of the most esteemed colleges in the country and brought attention to the opaque admissions process, which was already widely believed to be biased in favor of the wealthy.
In their request for a six-year prison sentence, the prosecution had cited Rick Singer’s substantial assistance in the investigation that led to the scheme’s discovery. Hundreds of phone calls and meetings that Singer secretly recorded while collaborating with investigators in 2018 helped police develop a case against numerous parents, athletic coaches, and others detained in March 2019.
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Actress Lori Loughlin from “Full House,” her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, and actress Felicity Huffman from “Desperate Housewives” were all sentenced to prison for participating in the conspiracy. Yale, Stanford, Georgetown University, and the University of California, Los Angeles coaches acknowledged taking bribes.
“It was a plan that was stunning in both its scope and boldness. It is now the subject of novels and made-for-TV movies, “Stephen Frank, an assistant US attorney, told the judge on Wednesday.
The prosecutor praised Rick Singer for his “unparalleled” cooperation in the case but said it was also troublesome because Singer acknowledged hindering the investigation by leaking information about numerous of his customers whom the government was investigating.
Rick Singer, according to the defense counsel Candice Fields, “did whatever was necessary” to help the government with its investigation despite taking a significant personal risk by wearing a wire to record discussions. Fields asked for six months in jail or three years of probation, whichever came first if the judge felt it necessary.
Rick Singer expressed regret to his loved ones, the public schools he embarrassed, and other parties. Additionally, he committed to working tirelessly from this point on to improve people’s lives.
“The lessons my father taught me about competition distorted my moral compass. I accepted his viewpoint that it was appropriate to exaggerate or even lie to win. I should have been more cautious, “said he.
On the day the enormous case was made public in 2019, Rick Singer entered a guilty plea to counts including racketeering conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Two parents were found guilty after a trial, while dozens of others ultimately entered guilty pleas to the charges.
An executive investigating an unrelated securities fraud scheme told investigators that a Yale soccer coach had promised to help his daughter get into the school in exchange for money, prompting Boston authorities to look into the plot. The Yale coach directed police to Singer, whose cooperation allowed the whole conspiracy to be thwarted.
Rick Singer bribed coaches to identify candidates as recruits to increase their prospects of admission to the school and paid off entrance exam administrators or proctors to manipulate students’ test scores for years.
Soccer, sailing, and tennis coaches accepted kickbacks to misrepresent pupils’ athletic abilities when recruiting them as athletes. To make pupils appear like stars in sports, they often didn’t even play, and fake sports profiles were created. Most of the bribes were routed through Singer’s fictitious nonprofit, which allowed some parents to pass them off as charitable contributions and reduce their federal income taxes.
Prosecutors claim that Singer received more than $25 million from his clients, paid more than $7 million in bribes, and used more than $15 million of their money for personal gain.
Frank argued before the judge on Wednesday that “this defendant was accountable for the most significant fraud ever perpetrated on the higher education system in the United States.”
Gordon Ernst, a former Georgetown tennis instructor who received a 2 1/2 year prison sentence for accepting more than $3 million in bribes, received the harshest sentence before Singer.
“It was a depressing day in court, but Rick is strong and determined to dedicate his life to helping the underprivileged in the future. He intends to keep atoning for past transgressions, “said the lawyer for Singer in a statement.
The parents’ sentences have ranged from probation to 15 months in prison, but the father, who received the latter punishment, is still out on bail as he files an appeal.
One parent, who wasn’t implicated in Rick Singer’s activities, was acquitted on all counts related to claims that he paid Ernst to admit his daughter to the school. Additionally, a judge mandated a new trial for Jovan Vavic, a former water polo player for the University of Southern California who was found guilty of receiving bribes.