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Mastermind of college admissions cheating scandal asks court for permission to visit son

William “Rick” Singer.
William “Rick” Singer. (Steven Senne/Associated Press)

As he awaits sentencing, the admitted mastermind of the nationwide college admissions cheating scandal that exploded into the headlines last month wants permission to visit his son, who’s enrolled in college in Missouri, records show.

A lawyer for William “Rick” Singer, 58, of Newport Beach, Calif., filed a brief motion Sunday in US District Court in Boston requesting that his client be allowed to travel to Missouri to visit his son, who wasn’t named.

“The defendant son [sic] currently residing and attending college in the Eastern District of Missouri and will continue his graduate education in the same college in pursuit of a Master of Arts degree and hopes to visit with his son a [sic] fairly regular basis,” the motion said. “The defendant would propose that conditions of travel be modified by adding the Eastern District of Missouri” to the list of states where Singer can currently travel.

Those states are California, Massachusetts, and Florida, records show.

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“All travel by the defendant outside of his current place of residence shall be subject to approval of the supervising Pretrial Services Officer the supervising defendant at the time of the defendant’s proposed travel, so as not to burden the Court, government counsel and defense counsel with filing motion(s) to temporary grant travel authorization(s),” the motion said.

Singer pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction of justice.

He told the judge he was “absolutely responsible” and “absolutely guilty” of the charges.

Singer said he offered his clients a way to circumvent the traditional admissions system — a highly competitive sorting process where tens of thousands of high school seniors compete every year for a small number of seats at elite colleges based on their merit and their potential to add to the culture and climate on campus.

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In court, Singer said his clients were also able to avoid the more expensive and less certain method of admissions used by the wealthy: giving millions of dollars directly to universities for buildings and programs in order to win admissions for their children.

“When you go through institutional advancement, as you know, everybody’s got a friend of a friend, who knows somebody who knows somebody, but there’s no guarantee they’re just gonna give you a second look,” Singer was quoted as saying in court documents as he pitched his services to a potential client.

Those services included bribing coaches to get clients’ children certified as athletic recruits at fancy colleges and universities, and facilitating cheating on the kids’ SAT and ACT exams, prosecutors have said.

Federal officials described an elaborate setup designed by Singer, where parents would send payments to a charity that he created to help underprivileged youth, and then the money would be funneled to pay off college coaches. Parents even got a tax write-off for donating to a nonprofit, investigators said.

Prosecutors said Singer ultimately “was paid approximately $25 million by clients to bribe coaches and university administrators.” The con has ensnared 50 people, including Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, as well as captains of industry, financiers, and other wealthy parents.

Singer is free on $500,000 bond; sentencing is scheduled for June 19 at the Moakley Courthouse , records show.


Deirdre Fernandes and John R. Ellement of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.

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