A man who talked to college admissions advisor William “Rick” Singer eight years ago about getting his son into a top California school says Singer matter-of-factly raised the idea of using fraud to make that happen — for a whopping $100,000 fee — less than two minutes after their conversation began.
questions about his son’s academics and whether he had written a college application essay, the man said.
“You say, ‘This is a college placement kind of guy,'” the man recalled.
But then Singer asked a question that seemed “weird,” the man said.
“He asked me how tall my son was,” the man said. “And then he asked me how much he weighed.”
“Then it shifted … he said, ‘I can actually slot your kid into the water polo team,'” the man recalled. “I said, ‘He never played.’ He said, ‘That’s OK.'”
Singer told the man that as part of his $100,000 fee, a “contribution” would be made to the water polo team at the university the son wanted to attend. After his son gained admittance to the school, Singer told him, his son would either quit the water polo team or be cut from it, without ever participating in any team activity.
“The scheme was, ‘Get him in, and then get him out,'” the man recalled.
Singer told the man “there’s a sense of urgency here” because at the time they were talking it was the season for college placement.
After Singer detailed the proposed scam, the man told Singer, “I’ll get back to you.”
The man said he never called Singer back and they never spoke again.
“I wasn’t going to do it for a dollar,” the man said. “There was never a moment I thought I was calling for anything other than college advice.”
“It just never crossed my mind that the call was going to go that way,” the man said. “The whole thing was so weird.”
The man said that after speaking with Singer he called his friend who had referred Singer to him and told him how the conversation had gone.
“He was taken aback,” the man said. “He had no idea.”
The man added that although he never considered taking Singer up on his offer, it now seems like “a lot of people have.”
On Tuesday, the man said, he heard the news about the federal investigation into bribery for college admissions that had swept up “Desperate Housewives” star Huffman and “Full House” actress Loughlin, along with the business executives, college coaches and Singer.
The man then called his friend who had originally referred him to Singer.
“He said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s the guy,'” the man recalled.