A college admission cheating ring involving 50 people was busted. From the indictment’s affidavit: “Caplan: if somebody catches this, what happens? Cooperating Witness 1: The only one who can catch it is if you guys tell somebody. Caplan: I am not going to tell anybody. CW-1: Well (laughing) Caplan: (laughing) CW-1: Neither am I. And, neither am I.”
US Attorney Andrew Lelling: “There can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy, and I’ll add that there will not be a separate criminal justice system either.”
After the head of the fraud ring, William Singer (CW-1), began cooperating with the FBI he called each of his prior co-conspirators to get them to verbally admit to specific crimes and payment amounts. Only one set of parents was suitably suspicious, saying on the phone “It’s really hard to hear” and asking to meet in person, wherein they said “I am so paranoid about this fucking thing you were talking about. I don’t like talking about it on the phone, you know” and correctly guessing “I can’t imagine they’d go to the trouble of tapping my phone – but would they tap someone like your phones?”. Later they remarked “if they get into the meat and potatoes, is this gonna be the front page story with everyone […] getting these kids into school” and, referring to their third child, “I think we’ll definitely pay cash this time and not run it through the other way.”. Unfortunately for them Singer was already wearing a wire at this point.
Also in this in-person conversation Singer messes up and says “I was just told to call everybody.”.
Another co-conspirator caught on to what was happening too late: the fourth time Singer called him to chat about their fraud, he started denying any involvement: “you did what you did and so I’m not going to take accountability for your actions […] I don’t want to talk about this any more because, you know, I think there were two separate things […] We donated as a charity, and it was a good charity and we were excited we could help you and […] if you’re trying to turn something around in terms of, you know, what you did and how you did it then I don’t want to be a part of that.”.
The dumbest co-conspirator award probably goes to the defendant who asked his executive assistant to write the bribery check and put in the memo line what the bribe was for.
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