LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A Newport Beach man who authorities said hatched the scheme to get the children of wealthy parents into elite universities through bribery and cheating once shopped a reality TV show about the pressures that rich students face when it comes to college admission.
A 2010 video obtained by TMZ Wednesday shows 58-year-old William “Rick” Singer auditioning for the chance to create a reality show around his work helping rich students get admitted to colleges.
“This is a game, just realize that this is a game,” Singer said in the video. His pitch was submitted to a network but never picked up, TMZ reports.
As part of a deal with prosecutors, Singer pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston Tuesday to one count each of racketeering, money laundering, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to defraud. He was released on $500,000 bail. He faces a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison, but will likely receive a lesser sentence due to his cooperation with investigators.
“At some schools, giving $10 million isn’t enough,” Singer said. “Because $10 million makes no impact on their school, they want $30, $40, $50 million.”
Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday that dozens of parents paid Singer, who billed himself as a college admissions consultant, a combined $25 million between 2011 and February 2019 to bribe college coaches and standardized test administrators in order to get their children admitted to schools such as USC, UCLA, Yale and Stanford.
In total, about 50 people have been arrested in the scheme, including 33 parents and nine coaches.
“Families all across the country that I work with,” Singer said in the video. “And many of them have their own planes. We have families in Champagne and Miami, and they send their plane to come pick me up, come to the meeting for a couple hours…put me right back on the plane, send me to the next place that I need to go.”
Singer lived in a home in Newport Beach and ran The Key Foundation, whose mission according to its website “is to provide guidance, encouragement, and opportunity to disadvantaged students around the world.”
Tax records show Key Worldwide took in almost $4 million in 2016.
“After all this chaos, the payoff for me is that I know these kids found the right place to go to school and that they feel great about themselves,” Singer closes in the video. “That they’re empowered to be successful.”