William ‘Rick’ Singer, head of college-admissions scam, had many Palo Alto connections


William “Rick” Singer, the Newport Beach, California man at the head of an elaborate, $25 million fraud to get students of wealthy families into top-rated colleges by cheating on college admissions exams and bribing coaches and admissions officers, had a long history of dealing with Silicon Valley clients.

In one Facebook post for his business, The Key, Singer claims to have shared his “secrets” with clients seeking help for their children with college admissions, including John Doerr, managing partner of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in Menlo Park; the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs; Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun MicroSystems; and famed NFL quarterback Joe Montana and his wife, Jennifer.

(The Weekly’s requests for comment Tuesday from the purported clients were not immediately returned.)

Though his business was founded in Sacramento and then moved to Newport Beach, Singer was no stranger to Palo Alto area families. He would drive into the Bay Area to spend time with a “circuit” of local clients, according to one Palo Alto father whose daughter met with Singer in 2011 and who asked to remain anonymous.

The Palo Alto father said he paid Singer $5,000 for about seven months of counseling, which involved visits to their home, emails and phone calls. He was connected to Singer by another parent, a prominent venture capitalist who “recommended him as a helpful admission adviser.” Other parents in that person’s firm had also used Singer in the past, the father said.

While calling Singer an “aggressive guy,” the father said Singer never mentioned bribery, large donations or falsifying tests to his family.

According to The Key website, Singer had a 26-year career as a life coach and college counselor and was “widely recognized as an elite-level college admissions, sports, career, and life coach.”

The Key provides one-on-one support for students to help design and realize a life plan, according to its website. The company is supposedly located in 81 cities throughout the U.S. and five overseas countries.

More at Palo Alto Outline