Rick Singer, mastermind of college fraud, faces 3.5 years in prison

In seeking leniency for Singer, defense attorney Candice Fields told the judge that her client took great personal risk by wearing a cable to record meetings for investigators and “did whatever it took” to get the government to support. Fields had applied for three years’ probation, or if the judge deemed jail time necessary, six months behind bars.

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“The investigation only got the notoriety it got because dozens of influential and sometimes prominent defendants were prosecuted,” and that was all because of Singer, Fields said.

Singer, a former basketball coach-turned-college counselor, apologized to his family, the schools he had publicly embarrassed, and the students he had worked with over the years. He pledged to work the rest of his life to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

“My moral compass was distorted by the lessons my father taught me about competition. I embraced his belief that it was acceptable to embellish or even lie in order to win as long as there was victory. I should have known better,” he said.

Singer pled guilty to racketeering and money laundering conspiracy charges in 2019, the same day the massive case broke. Dozens of others eventually pleaded guilty to the charges, while two parents were convicted in court.

For years, Singer paid entrance exam administrators or proctors to inflate students’ test scores and bribed coaches to label applicants as recruits to increase their chances of getting into the school.

Coaches in sports like soccer, sailing, and tennis took bribes to pretend to recruit students to be athletes, regardless of ability. Fake sports profiles were created to make students look like stars in sports they sometimes didn’t even play. The bribes were usually funneled through Singer’s sham charity, allowing some parents to disguise the payments as charitable donations and deduct the payments from their federal income taxes.

According to prosecutors, Singer took more than $25 million from his clients, paid a total of more than $7 million in bribes and used more than $15 million of his clients’ money for his own benefit.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Frank told the judge that if she failed to award a substantial prison sentence, it would send a “devastating message that fraud and obstruction of justice pays off.”

“This defendant was responsible for the most massive fraud ever committed in the United States higher education system,” Frank said.

Before Singer, the harshest sentence had been imposed on former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for pocketing more than $3 million in bribes.

AP

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https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/university-scam-mastermind-rick-singer-gets-3-5-years-in-prison-20230105-p5caji.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Rick Singer, mastermind of college fraud, faces 3.5 years in prison

Callan Tansill

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