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College admissions plot’s alleged ringleader will forfeit millions of dollars in plea deal

Business owner William "Rick" Singer (left) walked into Federal Court.
Business owner William "Rick" Singer (left) walked into Federal Court.(Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

William “Rick” Singer, the alleged ringleader of a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme that raked in more than $25 million over several years, pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges in Boston and has agreed to cough up millions of dollars to the feds, records show.

Singer, 58, of Newport Beach, Calif., has also agreed to give up several business holdings, according to a plea agreement unsealed Tuesday in US District Court in Boston.

He appeared relaxed in the Boston courthouse Tuesday as he pleaded guilty to four felony charges.

The plea deal said Singer has agreed to forfeit $3.4 million, as well as additional funds on deposit in a Bank of America checking account in the name of the Key Worldwide Foundation, described by prosecutors as Singer’s sham charity used to hide bribery payments.

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He has also agreed to forfeit all funds on deposit at a Wells Fargo account in the name of the foundation, the deal said.

In addition, he’s agreed to give up all assets owned or controlled by the foundation, including the foundation’s interest in the Sharky’s restaurant chain, Swansea Football Club, Hauser Private Equity Investment, Bluestone Partnership, Jamtown, Whamtech Inc., and Virtual PhD, the agreement said.

The deal called for Singer to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to defraud the United States, each of which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years. In addition, Singer copped to obstruction of justice, which carries a maximum prison term of five years.

“Within the maximum sentence Defendant faces under the applicable law, the sentence to be imposed is within the sole discretion of the Court,” the agreement said. Singer faces sentencing on June 19.

The Sacramento Bee on Tuesday reported that Singer told the newspaper in 1994 that he was running a business called Future Stars.

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The paper also reported that Singer was fired as boys’ basketball coach at Encina High School in 1988 over what the district described only as a “personnel matter,” though the Bee reported at the time that parents had cited Singer’s abusive nature toward referees.

He went on to work as an assistant coach for the Sacramento State men’s basketball team in the early ’90s, and in 2014 he published a book entitled “Getting In: Gaining Admission to the College of your Choice,” the Bee reported.


Deirdre Fernandes of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.