‘Varsity Blues’ College Scandal Mastermind Sentenced To 42 Months In Prison

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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UPDATE: This story has been updated to include statements from special agent Joseph R. Bonavolonta of the FBI Boston Division and Rachael Rollins, the attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

Rick Singer, the orchestrator of the 2019 “Varsity Blues” college admission scandal, was sentenced today in a Boston courthouse to 42 months in prison, the U.S. Attorney Massachusetts Office tweeted Wednesday.

Singer is the last person associated with the scheme to cheat the college admission process for children of prominent public figures by fabricating test scores and athletic achievements, the Associated Press reported. Singer collected more than $25 million from clients, paid more than $7 million in bribes and used more than $15 of client’s money for personal use. (RELATED: Athletic Official Pleads Guilty To Bribery Scheme At California University)

“Four years, two trials and more than 50 convictions, the architect and mastermind behind the historic, nationwide college admissions scandal has been sentenced,” Rachael S. Rollins, United States attorney in the District of Massachusetts said during the press conference. “Rick Singer was just sentenced to 42 months in federal prison for his role in a cheating and bribery scheme that rocked the college admissions process across our nation.”

“The conduct in this case was something out of a Hollywood movie,” she continued. “Wealthy, entitled parents paying for their children to secure admission to colleges, using fake test scores, falsified resumes and even staged or photoshopped pictures. They gained admission that was not based on merit, or athletic ability, but rather on cheating, bribing and lies.”

Prosecutors originally asked Singer to be sentenced with six years in prison. His lawyer, on the other hand, fought for three months probation or six months behind bars. His charges included racketeering conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

Singer pleaded guilty for his role in the scandal in 2019 but reportedly has remained free and cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to record meetings and phone calls with clients, according to the AP. More than 50 people, including actress Lori Loughlin, were charged for their role in fabricating college applications to give students an unfair advantage at top universities across the country.

Loughlin’s husband Mossimo Giannulli, actress Felicity Huffman and Georgetown University tennis coach Gordon Ernst were all convicted for working with Singer, the AP reported. Ernst was sentenced to 2 1/2 years for accepting bribes while sentences for parents ranged from probation to 15 months behind bars.

“Everyone we’ve arrested, charged and convicted date were integral the scheme success, but without Rick Singer they never would have succeeded,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, FBI Boston Division special agent in charge, said during the conference. “The FBI investigation illustrates our ongoing effort to level the playing field in the college admission process by rooting out corruption and holding those responsible for it accountable.”

Singer expressed remorse for his actions in a letter to the judge, in which he described having a mentality that prioritized winning over morality, according to the AP.

“By ignoring what was morally, ethically, and legally right in favor of winning what I perceived was the college admissions ‘game,’ I have lost everything,” Singer reportedly wrote.

He claimed his “winning at all cost” attitude is a result of childhood trauma, the AP reported.

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