The mastermind of a US college admissions scandal that saw celebrities and prominent figures use their wealth and privilege to buy their children places at top universities has been jailed.

Rick Singer, 62, was jailed for three-and-a-half years, the longest sentence ever handed down in a bribery scandal that put a number of celebrities and athletic coaches behind bars.

The scandal exposed the secret system of admissions and saw stars like Felicity Hoffman of Desperate Housewives. Full House actor Laurie Loughlin was sent to prison. To participate in the scheme.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Frank told the judge Wednesday: “This was a scheme that was breathtaking in its scale and its audacity. It has literally become the stuff of books and made-for-TV movies. “

Singer, a former college admissions consultant, took more than $25 million from his clients and paid more than $7 million in total bribes, Mr. Frank said.

“This defendant was responsible for the largest fraud ever committed in the higher education system in the United States,” he added.

For years, Singer paid admissions test administrators or proctors to inflate students’ test scores and bribed coaches to recruit applicants to increase their chances of getting into the school.

Lori Lovlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannoli, were sent to prison.
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Lori Lovlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannoli, were sent to prison.

Yale and Stanford coaches accepted bribes.

The singer told the judge: “I have lost my moral values ​​and I am very sorry.

“To be honest, I’m ashamed of myself.”

Coaches at some of the top American universities, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of California, Los Angeles, have admitted to taking bribes.

Sports coaches take bribes to recruit students as athletes through fake sports profiles to make students look like stars in sports they never even played.

The bribes were usually paid through Singer’s sham charity, which allowed some parents to disguise the payments as charitable donations and deduct the payments from their federal income taxes.

Felicity Huffman is leaving the courthouse in 2019.
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Felicity Huffman is leaving a courthouse in 2019.

The singer pleaded guilty the same day the case went public

More than 50 people were convicted in the bribery scheme.

Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, paid $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as rowers — even though neither of them played sports.

They helped create fake athletic profiles for their daughters by sending Singer photos of them posing on teenage rowing machines.

Read more:
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Hoffman also pleaded guilty and paid $15,000 to raise his older daughter’s SAT score.

The singer pleaded guilty in 2019 — the same day the massive case came to light — to charges including conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to launder money.

Prosecutors had sought a six-year sentence, noting Singer’s extensive cooperation in helping authorities unravel the scheme.

In 2018, he began working undercover with investigators and recorded hundreds of phone calls and meetings that helped authorities build a case against dozens of people arrested in March 2019.



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