In the Dark Ages when I took my SAT’s and ACT’s, I actually went to the testing room and took the test. I would get my scores and apply to college; now known as the the old way to enter the university system. However, like anything else, times change and we have a new method for getting into the school of our choice. It is one of the world’s oldest ways. Cheat!
As with everything else these days, the new method has taken on a 21st century tone. The new scheme is much more sophisticated. The FBI revealed last month that while they were in the process of looking into another scam that they had stumbled onto a real beauty led by a guy from Newport Beach California named William Rick Singer. Turns out Singer has been running the deal for almost eight years. He has been accused of taking in over $25 million dollars of wealthy parents’ money to fix test scores and bribe officials at various prestigious universities around the country.
Mr. Singer used a couple of methods to get the kids into school, two firms that he controlled, Key Worldwide Foundation and The Edge College & Career were the vehicles he used to run the scam. Mr. Singer helped more than 750 children of the rich and famous get into elite universities. First, he bribed exam administrators to alter the grades of students he represented to ensure that their scores were high enough to qualify. Second, he bribed coaches and administrators to nominate non-qualified applicants to be recruited as elite athletes allowing for easier access. Finally, he used his charitable foundation to conceal the source of “gifts” from the parents as laundered money.
As usual, this is only the tip of the ice berg. Mr. Singer has already plead guilty and is awaiting sentencing that could be as long as 20 years and a fine of over a million dollars. Some of the rich and famous are also pleading guilty and are cooperating with the FBI to find other families that were involved in the crime. University coaches and administrators have been reluctant to admit their role in the scam, but that is only a matter of time. When it is all said and done, a lot of people are going to have their lives and reputations ruined. They will get what they deserve for their arrogance and disregard of the rules that they feel should only apply to the little people.
Todd “Bubba” Horwitz