In March, a college admissions scandal broke. Mastermind Rick Singer and dozens of college coaches and wealthy parents were busted for scamming their way through the admissions process. Recently, a California woman became the 53rd person to be charged in the scam, and Singer was discovered to have done a lot more dirty work than was first thought.
Karen Littlefair, 57, of Newport Beach, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a plea deal announced Monday, according to court documents. She paid over $9,000 to have a person affiliated with Singer’s college counseling business take online classes for her son so he could graduate from Georgetown University, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence of four months in prison, one year of supervised release, a fine of $9,500 and an order to pay restitution. “My client has taken the earliest opportunity to take responsibility for her conduct,” Ken Julian, Littlefair’s lawyer, told CNN.
Littlefair’s one of now 53 known collaborators of Singer, who orchestrated an elaborate scheme for years to help wealthy students cheat on standardized tests and bribe college coaches to game the admissions system. Singer has pleaded guilty to several charges and has been cooperating with prosecutors.
Littlefair paid Singer’s college counseling business, “The Key,” to have an employee complete online classes in her son’s name. She paid about $9,000 in exchange for four classes, which helped her son graduate from Georgetown in May 2018. The university said it launched an internal investigation after Singer’s scheme was made public in March and will make several policy changes to their online coursework policy.
“When the University learns of a potential serious violation of the Honor System after a student has graduated, the Honor Council will investigate and adjudicate the case and may recommend sanctions up to and including the revocation of the student’s degree,” Georgetown said in a statement.
Littlefair originally paid a little over $6,000 for the first two courses. In April 2018, after she requested an additional two to help her son graduate, Singer’s company sent her an invoice for $3,000. Littlefair responded she thought she’d be given a “discount” because the “grade [Singer’s employee] earned was a C and the experience was a nightmare, CNN reports.
Singer replied he wouldn’t discount the invoice because the “process was a nightmare for all.” Documents stat Littlefair then paid The Key $3,000.
This is just one example of dozens, potentially hundreds of scams Singer ran. It was recently discovered he approached seven Stanford coaches about potential recruits between 2009 and his 2019 arrest, according to Stanford University’s president.
No evidence was found that any Stanford coach — except the former sailing coach — took Singer up on his bribes. Sailing coach John Vandemoer was arrested in March and charged with arranging bribes of $110,000 and $160,000 to the sailing program in exchange for designating two applicants as sailing recruits, who were not recruits.
Stanford is moving to redistribute $770,000 given to the Stanford sailing program by Singer’s sham charity, Key Worldwide Foundation. The California attorney general’s office advised the university to redirect the funds to support financially challenged high school students seeking support and preparation for college admission.