Humans are unpredictable, crafty, and desperate beings. Desperation, more often than not, leads them to shady avenues, where they eventually meet crafty beings trying to make a quick buck. The result, in the long run, always ends up being catastrophic for both parties. Today, we’ll be taking a look at one such instance of craftsmanship, fraud, and desperation. Today, we’ll be taking a look at one of the most talked-about frauds of the decade — the Singer college scam.
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What does Singer college scam mean?
The American education system is one mean, flawed machine. Yes, the colleges that parents drool over are as prestigious and brilliant as they are revered to be. However, the way students get placed is hardly worth writing songs over. Millions are spent trying to please the college authority, which basically smoothens the road for aspiring, rich students. The general, talented individuals are forced to score insanely high in tests and can only get in through sheer merit. If this seems unfair to you, wait until you hear about the third method of admission — through the “side door.”
Mastermind, Rick Singer, created this lucrative “side door” to offer respite to the rich, desperate parents, giving them the chance to admit their sons and daughters to a fine college for a fraction of the price. After running the scam successfully for 7 years — between 2011 and 2018 — Singer’s operation was brought down in 2019. All television channels across the country took note of the expose and ran the story all day long.
Now, two years after the big reveal, Netflix has come up with a documentary about the whole scandal, shedding a bright light on the matter, exploring new angles. Check out “Operation Varsity Blues” on the streaming platform to learn more.
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How did the scam work
Singer was a college coach and counselor — a good one at that. He was completely in touch with the mindset of the parents and knew how vulnerable the education system was. He got in touch with the athletic departments of the most prestigious colleges across the country and bought their favors with petty cash.
While universities around the country required a rather obnoxious number — upwards of $10 million — to give the students a fighting chance. Despite cutting a big cheque, students weren’t guaranteed a spot in the university, which made parents antsy and pushed them towards Singer’s “back door.”
To get a “side door” admission, parents were required to spend anywhere between $200,000 and $6.5 million. After seeing his account balance go up — through his charity “Key Worldwide Foundation” — Singer used to hire a specialist to rectify the students’ SAT or ACT answers. Next, he made contact with the athletics department of the top universities and bribed them to hire the students as athletes. Since almost none of them were real athletes, Singer also used to photoshop suitable, “sporty” backgrounds to make the thing appear more legit.
This grand illusion required around 50 artists, with Singer acting as the lynchpin. After the operation was brought down in 2019, almost all of them have served or are scheduled to serve their sentences.
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What is Rick Singer doing currently?
After the stunts he pulled, you’d expect to see Rick Singer rotting in jail for eternity, right? Unfortunately, though, the mastermind is still breathing easy, as he’s yet to receive his sentencing. As per the Department of Justice, Singer’s sentencing hasn’t been scheduled yet. Additionally, as the man has been cooperative since the bust in 2019, he probably won’t get as harsh a punishment as many are hoping.