A California accountant who allegedly worked for the mastermind of the so-called “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal is set to plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy.
Unsealed court documents revealed Friday that Steven Masera, a 69-year-old bookkeeper for William “Rick” Singer’s firm, plans to cooperate with investigators, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Singer, already a cooperating witness, is the founder of The Key, a Newport Beach college counseling company that offered families of prospective students assistance in getting into top schools. He and his partners allegedly pulled it off through myriad scams in which wealthy parents were complicit.
Prosecutors say Masera helped Singer launder fees paid by clients to rig college entrance exams and bribe sports coaches to portray their children as team recruits, according to Bloomberg News.
RELATED: 15 celebrities that didn't get into their dream colleges
15 celebrities who didn't get into their dream colleges
15 celebrities who didn't get into their dream colleges
Tina Fey played a Princeton University admissions officer in the 2014 movie "Admission," but things went a little differently when she applied to the elite school in the real world. "I went to my interview, and from the get-go was like, 'Yeah, I don't got this,'" she told People Magazine. Fey ended up attending the University of Virginia and studying drama.
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In 1974 Tom Hanks sent his SAT scores to M.I.T. and Villanova, "knowing such fine schools would never accept a student like me but hoping they’d toss some car stickers my way for taking a shot," he wrote in The New York Times. Hanks instead attended Chabot, a two-year community college in Hawyard, California. "That place made me what I am today," he wrote. Hanks later attended Sacramento State.
Steven Spielberg, one of the most successful film directors of all time, was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Cinema Arts not once, but twice. He instead went to Cal State Long Beach, but dropped out just before graduating when he got a movie deal. Don't worry — he returned to finally get his diploma in 2002.
Carey Mulligan desperately wanted to go to theater school as a kid, but her parents had other ideas. So when it came time to apply for college, the actress told The New York Times she attempted "the most rebellious thing I’ve ever done. I applied to drama school instead of university and got rejected from every one." Nevertheless, Mulligan's gone on to star in movies like "The Great Gatsby" and "Inside Llewyn Davis."
When Meredith Vieira didn't to get into Harvard, she was initially heartbroken. "In fact, I was so devastated that when I went to Tufts [University] my freshman year, every Saturday I'd hitchhike to Harvard," she told The Wall Street Journal. These trips stopped once she met a mentor who got her started in on her impressive journalism career.
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Google co-founder Sergey Brin wanted to attend M.I.T. for graduate school, but his application was denied. He ended up getting a masters degree at Stanford University, where he met Larry Page. The two would soon change the Internet — and world.
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Legendary news anchor Tom Brokaw was turned down by Harvard University. The New York Post reports that he joked about the rejection while moderating a panel on the movie "Spotlight" at the Harvard Club, saying it was the only way he could get in. Brokaw is a graduate of the University of South Dakota.
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Both of Katie Couric's sisters went to Smith College, and she told US Weekly that "it was devastating" when she didn't get in. But, she went on to enroll at the University of Virginia, where she got her start in journalism.
Matt Groening, the creator of "The Simpsons," is a member of the Rejected-From-Harvard Club too, according to a magazine published by two Harvard alums. Groening ended up attending The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
"Gone Girl" star Rosamund Pike was rejected from every drama school she applied to. “I dropped out of university to audition and they all said: ‘no thank you,’" she explained to News Corp. “It’s awful when you are 19, but I honestly believe it’s those knock-backs that give you the fight.”
Jerry Greenfield — one half of the ice cream duo behind Ben & Jerry's — was pre-med at Oberlin College, but when it came time to move on to medical school, he applied to 20, and was rejected from every one. Even after he got a lab technician job to boost his resume and re-applied, he was met with another 20 rejection letters. So instead he partnered up with his junior high school friend to make ice cream. The rest is delicious, delicious history.
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Hugh Jackman was rejected from Australia's prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the "X-Men" actor said it was "one of those ironies" that his poor audition at NIDA got him into the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where he ultimately studied.
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Warren Buffett was initially crushed when he was rejected from the Harvard Business School. But, as he told The Wall Street Journal, "everything that has happened in my life ... that I thought was a crushing event at the time, has turned out for the better." Buffett went to Columbia instead. "You learn that a temporary defeat is not a permanent one. In the end, it can be an opportunity."
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Singer also established the Key Worldwide Foundation, a phony charity through which he hid the nature of the funds, passing them off as donations for underprivileged kids, prosecutors say.
The LA Times reported that Masera addressed letters to parents from the foundation, falsely claiming that they received nothing in return for their five- to six-figure payments that prosecutors allege were in fact being given to exam proctors and coaches involved in the scam. Using the fake letters, families were able to disguise the payments as tax write-offs.
Others involved in the scandal include “Full House” star Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli and “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to shelling out $15,000 to hike her daughter’s SAT scores. Loughlin and Giannulli, however, have pleaded not guilty. According to People, the couple faces charges of money laundering conspiracy and mail fraud, and could spend up to 20 years in prison for each charge if convicted.