People.com Entertainment Movies Why Rick Singer, the Mastermind Behind the College Admissions Scandal, Is Still a Free Man Rick Singer has pleaded guilty to fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges but has yet to face a day in court By Nigel Smith Nigel Smith Nigel Smith is Senior News Editor, Movies at PEOPLE. He is an Entertainment Editor and Writer with more than 10 years of experience in the online and print industries as a journalist, storyteller, proofreader and manager. In 2017 Smith joined the PEOPLE editorial team in New York as News Editor, Movies. He has written feature stories and reviews including interviews with Ryan Reynolds, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Hudson and Russell Crowe. Prior, he served as News Editor at the Wrap in Los Angeles, and Entertainment Editor at the Guardian, also in LA, where he covered the red carpet at major awards shows including the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Governors Awards, Grammy Awards and Independent Spirit Awards. He also attended and reported on major film festivals at Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Telluride, SXSW and Tribeca. Smith has appeared as an expert commentator on numerous morning and entertainment shows including Good Morning America, Today, NBC News, BBC News, Access Hollywood, NY1, PeopleTV and more. A native of Toronto, Canada, Smith graduated from Syracuse University in New York State with Master of Arts degree in Arts Journalism (Film). He is married and lives in New York City. People Editorial Guidelines Published on March 17, 2021 02:07 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Two years after the college admissions scandal broke in March 2019, the mastermind behind the enterprise — William "Rick" Singer — has yet to face his day in court for sentencing despite pleading guilty to fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges. Singer is portrayed as an elusive figure in a new Netflix documentary, Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal, that centers largely on Singer, who's played by Matthew Modine in reenacted segments, with dialogue lifted directly from the FBI's transcripts of taped calls and wiretapped conversations. "It was surprising to me just how little there was available about him," director Chris Smith tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "The wiretap transcripts ended up being invaluable. We really got to know him through the interactions that he had with the parents." For more about Rick Singer, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. Matthew Modine as Rick Singer. Netflix Singer began his career as a high school basketball coach before he pivoted to college counseling, opening two companies in 1992 and 2004. "Through his coaching practice," says Smith, "he saw a greater opportunity, which was to utilize coaches at universities as a way to gain access through what he called the 'side door.'" Netflix Drops First Trailer for Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal — Watch Now Between 2011 and 2018, parents paid Singer $25 million for "side door" access via various methods, including paying someone to correct students' answers on their ACT and SATs and having coaches assert that students were recruits for the school's sports teams. (Both of Lori Loughlin's daughters were famously admitted to USC on the false premise of being crew team athletes.) Since Singer cooperated with the FBI to provide information on the parents and coaches involved, he's expected to get minimal if any prison time. "The children were victims in all of this," says Modine. "The parents didn't have the confidence in their children to succeed on their own merit." Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is available to stream on Netflix.