Who Is Rick Singer? Where the ‘Operation Varsity Blues’ Mastermind Is Today



It’s been two years since information of the faculty admissions scandal broke, sending high-profile celebrities, financiers, and Ivy League athletic coaches to jail. There’ve been podcasts, books, and even a Lifetime scripted telepic primarily based on the twisty story. Now there’s additionally a docudrama: Netflix’s Operation Varsity Blues: The School Admissions Scandal delves into the seedy underworld of school recruiting and the stomach-churning lengths rich dad and mom are keen to go to—and the lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} they’re keen to pay—with a purpose to get their kids illegally admitted to elite schools.Netflix’s documentary focuses on a person named Rick Singer, who has been dubbed the “mastermind” of the phony enterprise. Right here’s every thing it’s worthwhile to find out about Singer’s unlawful recruiting operation—and why he’s nonetheless not in jail.
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Who’s Rick Singer?Singer was reportedly born in Santa Monica, California, in 1960. He grew up enjoying sports activities, and later pursued athletics at Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas. He joined each the basketball and baseball groups, and had an “ultra-competitive streak [that] made him a lightning rod on campus,” in line with USA Right this moment. Within the Nineteen Eighties, Singer channeled that vitality into a training profession at Sierra School, a junior faculty close to Sacramento, California. It was at Sierra that Singer reportedly first received into the enterprise of school recruiting. Jeff Caraska, a columnist for the Auburn [California] Journal who interviewed Singer in 1988, instructed USA Right this moment that Singer, “was promoting the concept to folks that ‘I can get your child’s identify on the market and improve their possibilities of getting a Division I or Division II scholarship.’“Nobody was doing that again then, no less than [not] round right here,” Caraska instructed USA Right this moment. “And oldsters had been fairly enthusiastic about it.”Singer ultimately stop teaching and pursued faculty counseling full-time.

rick singer exiting a courthouse wearing a blue patagonia jacket

Bribery, dishonest, and phony images: How Singer’s faculty admissions rip-off operated.In 2007, Singer launched his firm, “The Key.” Though The Key does seem to have carried out some official faculty counseling companies, it will definitely morphed right into a widespread “racketeering enterprise,” in line with prosecutors. This is the way it labored: Singer instructed rich dad and mom he might get their kids into elite schools by what he referred to as a “aspect door.” Most often, that meant by dishonest.

rick singer exiting a courthouse

Rick Singer.
Boston Globe

Beginning in 2011, Singer began accepting funds of as much as $75,000 to assist youngsters cheat on standardized exams just like the ACT and SAT by bribing check proctors in Los Angeles and Houston, in line with an indictment. He additionally linked his purchasers with a psychologist who identified college students with studying disabilities with a purpose to get them extra time on assessments.Based on prosecutors, Singer bribed coaches at faculties like Yale, Stanford, UCLA, and USC, who accepted cash in change for reserving spots on their staff for his shopper’s kids—college students who had no plans to truly play the game.
In 2012, Singer established the Key Worldwide Basis, which billed itself as a charitable group serving to under-served youths. Federal authorities imagine it was truly a entrance to launder bribes. The non-profit’s tax-exempt standing helped Singer’s purchasers listing their “donations” as tax deductions. A former admissions counselor at an elite college instructed ELLE.com she “wasn’t even slightly bit shocked,” by the scandal, as a result of “this has been happening perpetually.” Extra from the admissions counselor right here.
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Singer self-published two books—and pitched his faculty consulting enterprise as a actuality TV present. One of many greatest takeaways in Netflix’s docudrama is how untouchable Singer believed himself to be. As seen within the movie, he truly submitted an audition tape pitching his enterprise as a actuality tv idea. You possibly can watch his audition tape in full on TMZ right here. “It is a recreation,” Singer says within the clip. “My job is to life-coach children and households by the entire strategy of stepping into faculty. It’s unbelievable. It’s so aggressive to get your child into faculty at the moment.”Singer additionally self-published two books, Getting In: Gaining Admission to Your School of Alternative and Getting In Private Manufacturers: A Private Model Is Important to Gaining Admission to the School of Your Alternative. Each provided recommendation on learn how to get into prestigious schools.
How did Singer get caught?

The tip that led authorities to analyze Singer got here from Los Angeles financier Morrie Tobin, who was reportedly being investigated as a part of a separate fraud case. Tobin instructed investigators that Rudy Meredith, Yale’s girls’s soccer coach, had accepted a bribe from Singer in change for getting his daughter into the varsity, in line with CNN. A yearlong investigation adopted that finally culminated in 50 arrests—from coaches to folks to Ivy League athletic administrators. (Meredith ended up pleading responsible to conspiracy and sincere companies wire fraud referring to the scandal.)What was “Operation Varsity Blues”?In September 2018, Singer started cooperating with federal investigators, who instructed him to file his cellphone calls with purchasers. Singer would falsely inform dad and mom the IRS was auditing his basis and that they need to not point out the bribes to varsity coaches. Based on CNN, Singer made 34 cellphone calls underneath the route of legislation enforcement. CNN additionally reported that Singer made “many others with out their route.” Greater than 50 individuals had been ultimately charged within the rip-off. Many pleaded responsible, however not all.

lori loughlin arriving at court

Lori Loughlin arriving at courtroom.
JOSEPH PREZIOSO

Lori Loughlin was sentenced to 2 months in jail. The Full Home actress and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, had been accused of paying $500,000 with a purpose to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli, accepted to the College of Southern California as rowing staff recruits. Loughlin pleaded responsible to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud as a part of a plea settlement, whereas Giannulli pleaded responsible to at least one depend of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and one depend of sincere companies wire and mail fraud. Throughout a Zoom listening to, Loughlin acquired a two month sentence in jail, in line with the Related Press. Her husband acquired a 5 month sentence in jail. Olivia Jade gave her first in-depth interview concerning the faculty admission scandal on Pink Desk Speak throughout her mother’s time away, revealing that she hadn’t spoken to both of her dad and mom since they went to jail. “It’s been onerous,” she mentioned. “I feel for anyone, it doesn’t matter what the scenario is, you don’t need to see your dad and mom go to jail. But additionally I feel it’s mandatory for us to maneuver on and transfer ahead.”
Loughlin was launched two days early in December. Right here’s every thing it’s worthwhile to find out about her time in jail—from a former inmate who served time on the similar facility.

felicity huffman walking on a street outside the courthouse in a black suit

Felicity Huffman arrives for a courtroom look.
Boston Globe

Felicity Huffman spent two weeks in jail.Determined Housewives actress Felicity Huffman was charged with paying $15,000 to inflate her daughter’s SAT rating. The correctional institute the place Huffman accomplished her 14-day jail has been referred to as “membership fed” for its soft facilities. As one Twitter person put it, “she’s on trip from life proper now.” For extra on Huffman’s time in jail, learn ELLE.com’s characteristic on Dublin Federal Correctional Institute, the place inmates can take Zumba and yoga courses. The place is Singer now? Singer plead responsible in March 2019 to 4 felony fees, together with cash laundering conspiracy, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and obstruction of justice. He hasn’t been sentenced but as a result of he’s set to testify at different defendants’ trials, which might probably affect how lengthy his sentence shall be. Based on the Justice Division web site, there isn’t any sentencing listening to scheduled for Singer right now.As seen within the Netflix documentary, Singer has been noticed driving a luxurious automotive in Sacramento. He swims twice a day at a neighborhood tennis membership in a Speedo and does yoga and push-ups there. A supply within the documentary claims he was overheard bragging that he won’t be going to jail—regardless of pleading responsible. In a video captured by C13Originals that seems on TMZ, Singer avoids questions from a cameraman, jumps right into a Porsche with two paddle boards tied to the roof, and drives off.

Rose Minutaglio
Workers Author
Rose is a Workers Author at ELLE.com masking tradition, information, and girls’s points.

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