The mastermind behind the college admissions bribery scandal, William ‘Rick’ Singer, offered unsolicited investment advice to his homeowners association while awaiting sentencing – but his neighbors aren’t biting, according to a new report.
Singer, 61, apparently came up with an ‘investment strategy’ for his Florida mobile home park’s $10,000 savings fund, a move frowned upon by the HOA, according to a Bay Area News Group report. published on Monday.
Susan Hurt, secretary of the Isle of Palm Home Owners Association, said she responded, “No, no, no, no, no” when Singer offered to help invest the $10,000 in savings.
The ringleader of the admissions scam – which turned on college administrators and parents like Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin – left his 5,100 square foot home in Newport Beach, Calif., after his arrest in 2019 in the federal government’s “Operation Varsity Blues”.
He now lives at the mobile home park in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he enjoys playing Rummikub at the clubhouse, mingling with his neighbors, and exercising by riding a stationary bike on the porch of his yellow trailer. , according to the report.
Singer, who pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and is expected to be sentenced in September, told the HOA, “I know how to handle this and I can handle it and we can fix this quickly,” according to Hurt.
Hurt said she declined Singer’s offer of help and instead wrote him a letter saying, “Thank you for your interest in wanting to help us, but we’ll handle this ourselves.”
“I have alarm bells ringing in my head that I don’t want him anywhere near the money because it’s money that’s been saved by people in the park for more than a year. decade,” she told the outlet. “I thought, ‘Oh, good God. Do you have a Ponzi scheme that we might be interested in? »
Asked about the conspiracy in which he helped get the kids of celebrities and wealthy families into some of the most prestigious universities in the country, Singer told the outlet, “I’m just trying to help the world.”
Singer – who remains free on $500,000 bond after agreeing to cooperate with authorities – did not try to hide his identity when he bought his $22,000 trailer, according to Kat Paluzzi, whose family previously owned the park.
” What are the chances ? It’s like it’s tiny — it’s not even a good part of St. Petersburg,” she told the outlet.
Paluzzi, whose family sold the park to New York investors just months before Singer bought his trailer, said they did a background check and consulted with their attorney before selling to him.
“What could we do? “, she says. “It’s not like he’s a threat to his neighbors. It’s not going to come into their house like a huge glass or something. There was simply no real cause for concern.
Singer has garnered mixed reviews from her neighbors, most of whom are over 55 and live on a fixed income of $1,300, according to the report.
Fellow resident Bill Blankenship said Singer, a fitness fanatic, suggested the park form a walking club and even bought Blankenship expensive walking shoes.
Singer is also said to have donated his old fridge and microwave to the Lighthouse Church across the mobile home park and can be seen helping out his neighbors from time to time.
According to authorities, Singer owned a for-profit college counseling program and provided a “side door” service to children from wealthier families by securing admission with doctored transcripts or fraudulent SAT and ACT scores.
In order to run his operation, Singer paid bribes to elite school coaches who helped create fake athletic profiles for students, including Loughlin’s two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose.
Singer’s exploits were featured in the 2021 Netflix documentary “Operation Varsity Blues,” which mixed real-life players with dramatic re-enactments that used court transcripts and tapes by federal authorities during their extensive investigation.
The singer pleaded guilty in 2019 to four felonies, including racketeering, conspiracy to defraud the federal government, obstruction of justice and money laundering.
He faces “lower-end incarceration” of federal sentencing guidelines and up to three years of supervised release when he is sentenced on September 15, according to federal authorities.