As the fallout from the college admission scandal continues to unfold, the name of one man keeps coming up as the alleged ringleader of the scam, one William Rick Singer. According to a report by The Daily Mail, he’s purportedly the central figure in the ever-evolving drama that has upended the home lives of celebrities like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin — two high-profile actresses who are now charged with trying to offer bribes in exchange to have their children admitted into prestigious schools.
Currently facing a slew of federal charges and out on bail – the bail being $500,000 for Huffman and $1 million for Loughlin, the stars of Desperate Housewives and Full House, respectively — things appear dire for the two women. An array of other famous, wealthy and well-connected folks appear to be in a heap of trouble as well, all seemingly due to the machinations of Singer.
The man who allegedly masterminded the “perfect” scheme to help affluent parents get their children into schools like Yale, Stanford, and Georgetown – and is himself facing up to 65 years in prison for his crimes – is Rick Singer. How well he is known?
The 58-year-old Singer has long been known as a “slick talker,” a social climber, and an irritant to his colleagues — a man who started his checkered career as a college admissions consultant at a high school in Sacramento. According to colleagues of his there, per The Daily Mail, they used to trade “Rick stories,” and warned new employees to “be careful – he’s shady.” He was known to ingratiate himself with wealthier families of students where he worked, many of whom are said to have loved him.
But his co-workers saw a different side. One of those co-workers, Jill Newman, is a high school counselor in schools in Sacramento and has been for decades. She says she knew several wealthier families who hired Singer.
“He was a slick talker and people believed him. But every high school counselor in the area knew about him. He was sneaky from the get-go.”
Newman also said she wasn’t at all shocked when she saw Singer’s name in the news.
“I was jumping for joy, because he finally got caught,” she said.
Singer started his first consulting business in 1992 in Sacramento — Future Stars College and Career Counseling. Another one was launched in 2007 — Edge College & Career Network — which was also known as The Key. In 2012 he moved to affluent Newport Beach, California, and started The Key Worldwide Foundation. The IRS granted tax-exempt status to this organization, and listed it as a charity.
But Singer is nothing if not ambitious – he’s accused of raking in over $25 million in bribes since 2013 in an admissions scam, allegedly using the funds to pay off coaches and SAT test administrators in order to get students admitted to universities. Singer reportedly used the Key Foundation to launder the money he was paid by rich parents, money that went to bribes and other sketchy arrangements. The Key Foundation happens to have the same address as his $2.6 million Newport Beach home.
Neighbors, however, say that they saw Singer packing up and moving out just last week. The house was listed for sale a few weeks ago.
Although he has been cooperating with the FBI to ensnare the parents who were caught up in his scheme, Singer still faces the prospect of doing at least some prison time himself, given the scale and magnitude of his alleged involvement in the scam.