William Rick Singer was accused of taking more than $25 million in bribes from his clients. And a total of more than $7 million in bribes in a nationwide college admissions scam.
William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind of a nationwide college admissions fraud scheme.
The singer, 62, pleaded guilty in March 2019 to racketeering conspiracy. Money laundering conspiracy. And other charges related to the scam, known as Operation Varsity Blues. He cooperated with government investigations and wore a wire for the FBI.
Besides to the 42 months in prison, the singer will be on three years of supervised release.
The operation involved bribery, cheating on entrance exams. And the use of false claims by ineligible applicants. To gain entry to the school as elite recruited athletes.
The singer told the judge on Wednesday that he was ashamed of what he had done. And that he before believed that “lying to win was acceptable.”
“I learned how to use my strong self-discipline to be an honest. And legitimate person,” Singer said, adding that he “can and will be” a law-abiding citizen.
Prosecutors sought a six-year sentence, while defense attorneys requested. Three years of probation or a greatest of six months in prison.
US Attorney Rachel S. Rollins called the handling of the Operation Varsity Blues case “something out of a Hollywood movie.” At a news conference after the sentencing. Rollins described his shock at the depth of the scandal.
“I, like millions of hard-working lower- or middle-class families, have gone through this process,” Rollins said. “I was never stupid enough to think it was a meritocracy. But I had absolutely no idea how corrupt. And infected the admissions process was until this case exposed everything.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Joseph Bonavolonta said that. With each bribe paid to Singer by the wealthy family. He “sold hard-working students a little more.”
“Everyone arrested, charged and convicted to date has been integral to the success of this scheme. But without Rick Singer, they would never have succeeded,” Bonavolonta said.
Singer’s sentence is the longest ever handed down in the case. Following the 2½ years former Georgetown University tennis coach Gordon Ernst pocketed more than $3 million in bribes.
The scheme ensnared Hollywood and actors Laurie Loughlin.
Singer earned more than $25 million from his clients, paid more than $7 million in total bribes. And used more than $15 million of his clients’ money for his own benefit, prosecutors allege.
In a letter filed in his defense sentencing memorandum Thursday. Singer said he lives in a trailer park. And can’t get a job despite more than 1,000 attempts because of his role in Operation Varsity Blues.
“For most of my life, if not all it, I’ve been winning at all costs,” he wrote. Choosing right over wrong became less important than doing.