College admissions scandal’s William Singer experiences ‘regrets’

The ringleader behind the college admissions bribery scandal, William « Rick » Singer, said he feels « regret » ahead of his sentencing in federal court in Boston next week.

Federal prosecutors recommend Singer serve six years in prison and pay more than $19 million in fines and asset forfeitures for running the decade-long ‘pay to play’ scam in which he helped getting the children of celebrities and wealthy families into some of the country’s most prestigious universities.

His lawyers are asking for probation with house arrest and community service.

He is among the latest to be convicted in the federal government’s « Operation Varsity Blues » case that led to the conviction of more than 50 Singer trainers, parents and associates, including actors Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman.

His multimillion-dollar scheme involved paying administrators to cheat on college entrance exams and bribing college coaches and administrators in exchange for trying to get unqualified students accepted. in schools.

“I reflected on my very poor judgment and criminal activities which became more and more my way of life. I woke up everyday feeling shame, remorse and regret,” he recently wrote. Singer in a court brief before his sentencing: « I acknowledge that I am fully responsible for my crimes. »

« By ignoring what was morally, ethically and legally right in favor of winning what I perceived to be the college admissions ‘game’, I lost everything, » he continued.

Singer is one of the latest convicted in the « Varsity Blues » case.

Singer pleaded guilty in March 2019 to four felonies, including racketeering, conspiracy to defraud the federal government, obstruction of justice and money laundering.

The mastermind of the scandal was found guilty of accepting more than $25 million from his clients and paying bribes totaling more than $7 million, according to court documents. Over $15 million of client money he spent on himself.

“His corruption and manipulation of others was virtually limitless,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing notice filed Wednesday.

Sentences for those convicted of the scandal range from probation to 30 months in prison.

However, prosecutors said that « as the orchestrator and ringleader of the scheme, the most culpable participant, and the accused who benefited the most from it, Singer deserves a sentence well above the high end of that range, » despite his cooperation. with the government.

In addition to six years behind bars, prosecutors are asking the court to order Singer to serve an additional 36 months of supervised release and pay the IRS more than $10.6 million in restitution and confiscate valued assets at $5.3 million and $3.4 million in cash.

He has already paid $1,213,000 for the $3.4 million forfeiture, according to court documents.

Singer turned on college administrators and parents during a federal investigation into the scandal, carrying a wire during conversations with those involved and transmitting recorded phone calls and online communications, prosecutors said. Yet prosecutors said he tipped off « at least six of his clients » and used an unauthorized cellphone.

« Unlike many proctors and test administrators and college athletic coaches and administrators who will never be able to commit the same crime again, Singer might be, » prosecutors said. « There are no licensing requirements for college admissions coaches, and no way to prevent Singer from reverting to what he himself calls a criminal ‘lifestyle,’ fueled by his desire to ‘win at all costs’. »

Singer’s lawyers asked the court for a lenient sentence of three years probation – including 12 months of house arrest – as well as 750 hours of community service.

Singer, 62, lives in a trailer park in St. Petersburg, Florida, while out on $500,000 bail pending sentencing. Earlier this year, Singer reportedly offered unsolicited investment advice for the mobile home park’s $10,000 savings fund, which has been poorly received by the homeowners association.

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Actress Lori Loughlin has been found guilty for her role in the scandal.
Boston Globe via Getty Images

He also said he was unable to find a job during his release due to national media coverage of the case.

The scammer noted in his sentencing statement that he met with a psychologist who helped him uncover a ‘repressed childhood trauma’ from his father which ‘played a significant role in my behavior later in life’ .

“This personal story in no way excuses my illegal conduct, but it does help me understand why I did it. It wasn’t for the money (I had nice things but I was just working). I committed the crimes to be able to count my successes as my biological father taught me to do which, unfortunately, I imitated.

His sentencing was postponed for years as the other cases unfolded to reveal how Singer cooperated with investigators against his clients and associates. He was pushed back this summer after the sudden death of his lawyer.

He is expected to be sentenced on Wednesday, January 4.


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