The non-profit organization Rick Singer was supposed to help poor children. But elite colleges have got most of its grants


William Rick Singer introduced his charity as a way to open the doors of underprivileged students who grew up in the midst of gang violence.

The Key Worldwide Foundation's website says it funds dental care for Cambodians in need, after-school programs for children in 20 US cities, and life support for disadvantaged girls in the United States. Los Angeles.

But the federal tax records examined by the Los Angeles Times showed that the vast majority of the charity's grants actually went to elite universities, including the University of Southern California, Yale, and the University of California. University of New York. The nonprofit is now at the center of what prosecutors have called the biggest college swindle ever discovered.

Charity, they argue, was nothing more than a way to launder money from wealthy parents to bribe college administrators and coaches in a massive fraud scandal to get their children admitted in schools. Fifty people were accused in the investigation.

In 2016, the last year for which records are available, the Singer Foundation donated $ 252,500 to the University of Texas Athletics, $ 50,000 to the USC Women's Athletics Board, $ 25,000 to the USC Soccer Program and $ 83,181 at NYU Athletics, according to tax documents. The records show that $ 100,000 was donated to a company whose address is related to the UCLA's men's football coach, who was charged.

Meanwhile, the LadyLike Foundation, which offers tutoring and workshops to girls in Los Angeles, received $ 10,000 that year. Cambodia's friends received $ 18,550.

In 2015, USC spent $ 250,000 on USC sports programs, including its women's water polo and volleyball programs, $ 294,000 at the University of Texas Athletics, $ 250,000 at Yale Summer Time Sports and $ 175,000 at Chapman University.

That year, the Friends of Cambodia received $ 19,200.

In 2014, USC sports programs received $ 225,000, while NYU Athletics received $ 203,998, according to tax statistics. The previous year, Fullerton Futbol Academy of Cal State Fullerton had received $ 100,000. Attempts to reach the director of the academy Tuesday night were unsuccessful.

It is unclear which donations listed on the tax forms, if any, were used as bribes in the scheme. The documents do not explain how the grants were used by the universities.

Singer, owner of the Edge College & Career Network admission company, has been charged with money laundering, obstructing justice, racketeering, and conspiracy to defraud the United States as part of a ploy launched in 2011.

He cooperated with the authorities as part of the investigation and pleaded guilty to charges laid in Boston on Tuesday afternoon, according to court records.

Prosecutors allege that well-to-do parents paid Singer to help cheat their children during college entrance exams and to falsify sports history to allow them to be admitted in at least eight schools. This list also includes UCLA, Stanford and Georgetown.

According to the tax records, not all schools named in the case received donations.

Federal law enforcement began the investigation, dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues", in May, based on information provided by a confidential source interviewed as part of a separate investigation, the agent said. FBI Special, Joseph Bonavolonta.

The government alleges that Singer asked parents to donate funds to the charity under this program. The parents were then able to deduct the gift from their income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Among the defendants were Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman, of "Desperate Housewives" and Lori Loughlin, who starred in "Full House".