Rick Singer/ Facebook
William “Rick” Singer is the alleged ringleader of the massive college-admissions scandal unveiled Tuesday. The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts accused Singer of paying off college coaches, administrators, and standardized-test proctors to get kids into elite universities. Singer appears to have a long history in the college-admissions business. He pleaded guilty to charges in Boston on Tuesday afternoon.
William “Rick” Singer, 58, is the founder of Edge College& Career Network, LLC and CEO of the Key Worldwide Foundation, the companies at the center of the 2019 college-admissions scandal that has resulted in the prosecution of 33 parents, including celebrity Felicity Huffman, and 13 college coach-and-fours and other business associates.
Singer is the alleged mastermind of the scheme that brought in millions of dollars by creating fraudulent college applications for prospective college student by fudging exam scores, making fake identities, and editing photos by putting kids’ faces onto athletes bodies to portray them as having athletic abilities they do not have.
Here’s what we know about Singer and his businesses.
In 1992, Singer reportedly started his first advise business, Future Stars College& Career Counseling. Steve Heap/ Shutterstock
Following his experience with coaching, Singer reportedly started his first college advise business, Future Stars College& Career Counseling, in Sacramento, California, in 1992.
Singer reportedly sold the business to Scott Hamilton, who still operates it, according to its website, and left to work for The Money Store, where he worked in recruitment and training.
In 2004, Singer reportedly started The CollegeSource with private investment fund and committee backing from an impressive higher-education network, including “the president emeritus of Stanford and the director of the Carnegie Foundation.”
Ted Mitchell, the president of Occidental College at the time, told The Sacramento Business Journal that “Rick has an encyclopedic knowledge of colleges and universities in America.”
Singer started The Key three years late in 2007, according to court filings.
Singer owned The Key, a college-counseling and -preparation business and nonprofit. Facebook/ RickSingerGettingIn
Singer owned and ran two organizations related to the alleged college-admissions scheme.
The Edge College& Career Network LLC was Singer’s for-profit college advising and preparation business, which was primarily known as The Key Worldwide.
On its face, the business provided typical college admissions counseling and services beginning in 9th grade, according to the brochure on its website, including test preparation, developing “a student’s Personal Brand, admissions essay coaching, college selection advice, and application preparation.”
The Key also offered a “special talent program, ” the prepared applications based on specific academic, athletic, or other scholarships.
He also operated a nonprofit, The Key Worldwide Foundation, designed to disguised payments induced for Singer’s illicit services, according to authorities. Facebook/ Rick Singer
Singer’s nonprofit, The Key Worldwide Foundation, was established in 2012, according to court documents, and was approved to be tax-exempt.
On paper, the foundation was set up “to provide guidance, encouragement, and opportunity to disadvantaged students around the world, ” according to its site. The foundation said it donated to other nonprofits and ran its own scholarship programs.
But according to the Department of Justice, the nonprofit was used by Singer to take pays for his illicit services that looked like gifts and issue pays to coach-and-fours and other parties.
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