Parents said Singer, who is the ringleader of one of the largest college admissions scams the U.S. history, approached them saying he could get their children into college, but not the conventional way. A well-known Silicon Valley investor told Axios on Thursday about once hiring Singer as a college counselor for his son and receiving the “side door” pitch.
The investor, who was not identified, said he reached out to Singer after someone mentioned the 58-year-old as a college counselor. Singer, from Newport Beach, Calif., was the founder of for-profit college prep business Edge College & Career Network, also known as "The Key.” He also ran the charity, Key Worldwide Foundation, which authorities revealed Tuesday was a front for his bribery scheme.
“He came to our house four, maybe five times...Test prep. Getting all the applications in order. Things like that,” the investor told Axios. “But then it got weird. He sort of said: ‘I think I can get your kid into USC, but he's going to be a football player.’ Now my kid only played freshman football and wasn't sure he wanted to go to USC.”
“Singer tells me there would be a spot and he doesn't actually have to play football. He makes it all sound so reasonable, except that he also says he'll need a picture and asks if I have one from freshman football,” he recalled.
The investor said Singer told him: “Your kid can't really get in here, but I've got a way to get him in the side door.”
“I finally just said to give some other child the opportunity. No money was ever discussed with me, outside of the regular monthly fee to do the standard stuff. But the idea of doctoring up an application was not my sort of thing,” the parent said.
In June 2018, Singer gave his elevator pitch to client Gordon Caplan, the chairman of a top law firm, and boasted about how he aided nearly 770 students into gaining acceptance to “certain schools” by using the “side door” method, documents stated.
“[These wealthy families] want in at certain schools. So, I did 761 [of] what I would call, ‘side doors,’” Singer said in a phone call with Caplan, according to court documents. “There is a front door which means you get in on your own. The back door is through institutional advancement, which is ten times as much money. And I’ve created this side door in.”
Parents who agreed to use the “side door” would make a “financial commitment” that ranged from thousands of dollars up to $6.5 million, authorities said.
In total, 50 people, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were charged Tuesday for their alleged involvement in the cheating scandal. Singer appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded guilty to several charges of racketeering and money laundering.