By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A well-known Sacramento-based college counselor is at the center of this nationwide scandal, accused of guaranteeing wealthy clients’ children a place in elite universities.

Federal agents say Rick Singer made $25 million dollars over the past eight years, paying a network of coaches and academic professionals, and faking standardized test scores.

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Court documents show Singer paid co-conspirators to secretly take the ACT and SAT tests in place of the children of his clients. He also created fake athletic profiles for clients’ children, in one case the indictment includes an email from Singer instructing an associate he will “need a soccer pic, probably Asian girl.”

Singer’s company called, “The Key” was also known as Edge College and Career Network. It once had an office listed at an American River Drive location.

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His ties to the Sacramento area also connect him to a business park in Rancho Cordova where he started a college counseling business, before selling it to the current owner.

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The current owner of Future Stars College Counseling said he had not seen Singer in nearly two decades since the change in ownership. He declined to comment on the Singer’s arrest, only saying his school has no connection to the allegations.

Singer also worked briefly at Rio Americano High School as a guest teacher in the late 1980’s and at Encina High School as a basketball coach around the same time.


Singer pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday and could face up to 20 years in jail. Among the dozens named in the indicted are two co-conspirators Mikaela Sanford and Steven Masera, both from Folsom. Prosecutors say they were part of the cheating scam through their work at Edge College and Career Network.

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They both made brief federal court appearances in Sacramento Tuesday and are scheduled to be formally arraigned at a federal courthouse in Boston on March 25th.