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College Admissions Scandal Is Likely Tip of the Iceberg

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Unread 03.14.19, 11:25 AM
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College Admissions Scandal Is Likely Tip of the Iceberg

On 03.14.19 09:47 AM posted by Cully Stimson

The recently disclosed college admissions scandal hasangered everyone because it involves the classic vices of greed, lying,subterfuge, dirty money, snitches, and cheating. It also underscores the notionthat the rich play by a different set of rules, and that the college admissionsprocess is not based on merit.

By unsealing the indictmentand criminalcomplaint against 50 people, the Department of Justice pulledback the curtain on the whole sordid underworld of side-door, backroom,dirty deals reached by select parents, coaches, college board administrators,and others who allegedly put status and greed over fairness and merit.

Each defendant, who is presumed innocent, facesserious criminal consequences given the information contained in the indictmentand criminal complaint.

And this may be just the tip of the iceberg.

The case centers on William Singer, the owner of acollege counseling company in Newport Beach, California. Unlike other collegecounseling companies, Singer provided unique services that guaranteed admissionof less-than-average students to the college of their parents’ choice through,as he termed it, the “side door.”

The side door involved bribing college coaches toadmit students (not actual student athletes) as a recruited athlete, cheatingon SAT/ACT exams by paying off select administrators of those exams, doctoringgrades, and more. In return for these services, parents paid hundreds ofthousands of dollars to Singer’s fake charity, and some then took the taxdeduction the next year.

Right after Singer was caught by the FBI and decidedto become a cooperating witness, he tipped off some of his clients, which iswhy Singer was also charged with obstruction of justice. What we don’t know yetis who he tipped off, what was said, what actions (if any) those people took asa result of the tip, and whether more charges are forthcoming.

As a cooperating witness, Singer (thus living up tohis last name) told the feds about his scam, and agreed to a series of recordedphone conversations with unsuspecting client parents regarding their ongoingconspiracy. Portions of those recorded conversations are contained in thecomplaint, and give the reader an unvarnished view into the quid pro quo natureof the scam.

Singer’s pitch was a simple business proposition: Namethe college you want your kid to attend, get your kid a fake diagnosis of alearning disability, petition the college board for extra time to take theSAT/ACT because of the learning disability, Singer gets a fixer to take the examfor the student or “correct” the student’s exam at one of two special testingsites, work with Singer on a fake athlete profile for your kid, and pay Singerthe money he required—and presto, your kid is admitted to the college of his orher choice as a “recruited athlete.”

Over an eight-year period, Singer conspired withdozens of parents to get their lackluster students into elite colleges anduniversities. He bragged about it to his clients. The Justice Departmentdocuments mention Stanford University, Yale University, the University of SouthernCalifornia, Wake Forest University, the University of San Diego, the Universityof Texas, UCLA, and Georgetown University.

We don’t know what other schools Singer placed students into over the years, what other parents he conspired with, and how many other college coaches, administrators, or persons he worked with to achieve his nefarious business purpose. But there certainly are others, which is why the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts mentioned that there may be more charges.*Count on it.

Singer is facing a long time in jail, even though hepled guilty. He was charged in a criminalinformation with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy,conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of justice, RICO forfeiture,and money laundering. He had a strong incentive to take a plea and become acooperating witness. No doubt he expects the sentencing judge to go easy on himwhen he is sentenced, but he very likely will do substantial prison timeregardless of any sentence reduction.

The charges against the parents include conspiracy tocommit mail fraud, and honest services mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349,each of which carries a maximum sentence, if convicted, of no more than 20years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 ortwice the gross gain or loss. The charges against the coaches and teachersinclude racketeering conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d),and carries the same sentence.

This case is just getting started. Several of thespouses, who were recorded in phone conversations, were not charged. Why? Eitherbecause they didn’t commit a crime, or because the government decided that notcharging them at this time gives the government leverage over the indictedspouse.

It is certainly possible that as the governmentdevelops other facts, and as defendants weigh their options and decide tocooperate, other defendants may be charged. Furthermore, as individual collegesconduct internal investigations, they may uncover facts that they will turnover to the government, who in turn may charge more individuals.

Who are the victims, if any, at this point? Certainly those actual student athletes who had a reasonable shot at gaining admission into those schools during that recruiting year, who were denied that recruited athlete slot because it was rigged in favor of a privileged kid.

Perhaps there are other students of merit who applied to colleges, but were denied admission, or were deferred, because these (and others we don’t know about) were granted admission based on bogus credentials.*Time will tell.*

Stand by for more, as other shoes are likely to drop.

The post College Admissions Scandal Is Likely Tip of the Iceberg appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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