Big local names linked to college admissions fraudster

BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer

Admitted college admissions fraudster Rick Singer claimed in a 2014 Facebook post that his clients included the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Kleiner Perkins Managing Partner John Doerr and former 49er Joe Montana.

Presumably they hired Singer to get their kids into college.

Federal prosecutors say that Singer provided a phony test proctor to give students the answers to SAT and ACT tests and offered university athletics officials millions of dollars in bribes from wealthy parents, including nine from the mid-Peninsula.

Jobs’ widow, Palo Alto resident Laurene Powell Jobs, didn’t return a request for comment. Neither did Doerr.

Other local names on the list include Sun Microsystems cofounder Bill Joy and former Facebook ad sales head Mike Murphy.

The list was posted by @RickSingerGettingIn, a Facebook account in Singer’s name promoting his self-published book, “Getting In: Personal Brands.”

The 80-page book is the sequel to “Getting In: Gaining Admission to Your College of Choice.”

In the August 2014 Facebook post, Singer touts a 26-year history of helping more than 250,000 families with getting in to elite universities.

“As a parent, ask what would you be willing to do to give your child a shot at one of these top schools?” the post reads. “Just look at the numbers: 90% of the students (Singer) coaches get into a Tier 1 school while 95% find acceptance at a top Tier 2 school.”

Money funneled through a nonprofit

Singer ran his elaborate scheme under the names the Key Worldwide and the Key Foundation, a nonprofit based in Newport Beach claiming to “provide guidance, encouragement and opportunity to disadvantaged students around the world” by donating college coaching to poor teenagers.

“Since its founding in 2014, the Key Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, has touched the lives of hundreds of students that would never have been exposed to what higher education can do for them,” the foundation’s website states. “Many of these students have only known life on the streets, surrounded by the gang violence of the inner city.”

Singer agreed to cooperate with the federal investigation by participating in secretly recorded calls with his clients in order to get them to admit their role in the scheme.

Donation wasn’t real

The Key’s annual IRS filings to maintain its tax-exempt status, called a 990 Form, also list an $18,550 donation to a Palo Alto-based nonprofit, Friends of Cambodia, in 2016. In 2015, the Key claimed to have donated $19,200 to Friends of Cambodia.

he organization’s founders, Elia and Halimah Van Tuyl, told NBC Bay Area that they had never received any money from Singer.

The Van Tuyls said their nonprofit helps pay for college for Cambodian youth by having donors write to checks to the San Francisco nonprofit Give to Asia.

2 Comments

  1. After these people successfully get their kids into a college, what do they pay the teachers and administrators to ensure that the kids receive exceptional grades?

    • Nothing in the article says the kids receive exceptional grades in college. Indeed, it’s unlikely they would excel if they had to cheat to be accepted.

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