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‘Varsity Blues’ mastermind Rick Singer deserves 6 years in prison, prosecutors say

By Janelle Lawrence | Bloomberg

The mastermind of the “Varsity Blues” college admission scam deserves six years in prison despite his “unprecedented” cooperation with federal agents in Boston resulting in 50 parents and coaches convicted in the biggest college admissions scam the U.S. has ever prosecuted, the government said in a court filing.

Rick Singer is “far and away the most culpable” of all in the scheme and also obstructed justice when he warned at least six families he had cut a deal and was working with the government, federal prosecutors said.

Singer, a former multimillionaire who had a luxury home in Newport Beach and now lives in a Florida trailer park, faces sentencing on Jan. 4 in Boston for crimes that rocked college campuses and prompted admissions overhauls.

Singer’s lawyers said he shouldn’t get any prison time.

They asked the judge to give him a “substantial” break in light of his extensive cooperation.

“Whatever may be said about Rick’s crimes, his cooperation has led to important reforms at great cost to his own safety and reputation,” his attorneys told the court in a request for probation.

Singer, who according to court testimony made almost $28 million from the scheme, must forfeit $3.4 million and has paid $1.2 million so far.

He is one of the last to be sentenced in connection to the decade-long scandal that led to more than 50 arrests and convictions, including celebrities like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin who used Singer’s services to get their kids into elite schools.

His scheme involved paying off test proctors and administrators to cheat on college entrance exams and bribing college athletic coaches and administrators to designate applicants as athletic recruits based on fabricated credentials, court documents have shown.

Singer told the court in his own words that he takes responsibility for his actions and feels shame for them.

“I have been reflecting on my very poor judgment and criminal activities that increasingly had become my way of life. I have woken up every day feeling shame, remorse, and regret,” Singer wrote in a recent court submission ahead of his sentencing. “I acknowledge that I am fully responsible for my crimes.”

In reflecting on the scheme that cost him his own wealth, he attributes his motivations to a fierce competitive drive to “win at all costs.”

“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 wrote.

Prosecutors in their respective sentencing memo acknowledged Singer’s cooperation with the government as “historical” and “hugely significant.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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