Mastermind of ‘Varsity Blues’ scandal sentenced

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Age: 65
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04 Jan 2023, 6:56 pm

Mastermind of ‘Varsity Blues’ college admissions scheme sentenced to more than 3 years in prison

William Rick Singer, the mastermind of a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and supervised release Wednesday afternoon in Boston.

Singer, 62, pleaded guilty in March 2019 to charges including racketeering conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy in connection with the scandal, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues. He cooperated with the government’s investigation and wore a wire for the FBI.

In addition to 42 months served in prison, Singer will have three years of supervised release.

The operation involved bribes, cheating on entrance exams and unqualified applicants using bogus claims to get into schools as elite recruited athletes.

Singer told the judge Wednesday he was ashamed of what he had done and previously believed that “lying to win was acceptable because of victory.”

Prosecutors had sought a six-year sentence, while defense attorneys requested three years of probation or a maximum of six months behind bars.

U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins called the behavior seen in the Operation Varsity Blues case "something out of a Hollywood movie." In a news conference after sentencing, Rollins described her shock at the depth of the college admissions scandal.

"I, like millions of hard-working lower or middle class families, have gone through this process," Rollins said. "I was never foolish enough to believe it was a meritocracy, but I had absolutely no idea how corrupt and infected the admissions process was until this case exposed everything. Any parent or guardian who has ever experienced the college admissions process should be angry."

FBI Special-Agent-In-Charge Joseph Bonavolonta said that with every bribe Singer paid on behalf of wealthy families, he "sold out hard-working students a little more."

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