Chicago family shares run-in with accused admissions bribery scandal mastermind

WGN Exclusive

CHICAGO — While the college admissions bribery scandal continues to make headlines coast to coast, one Chicago mother shared her tale about almost working with the accused architect of the criminal scheme.

Like so many mothers walking into the college application process for the first time, Judy Faulkner Krause wanted not just the best for her kid, but the most for her kid. She wanted her child to have a shot at Yale University, Brown University and Dartmouth College.

When a friend told her about William "Rick" Singer from southern California who could help, she picked up the phone and called him. When the news broke about the college admissions scam and the mastermind behind it, it stunned Krause and her family, because they knew him.

Krause cringed when she made the connection that she and her son tried to work with Singer in 2014.

Five years ago, the Krauses called up Singer to see what he could do to get their son Jason into one of the finest institutions in the United States. Jason was a rower, in theater and a solid student, so his parents had high hopes.

"Jason is a rock star student," Krause said. "He got a 34 in English and 35 on Reading on his ACT. The British School that Jason attended is an International Baccalaureate school — much harder than the Latin School."

One of Krause’s friend suggested they call Singer and had this to say about the pricey college counselor:

“Rick is a 'take no prisoners' kind of a guy. ‘He’s kind of an a--hole,’ is what he said, so he’s just going to tell it like it is,” Krause said.

So they set up a conference call.

“He got on the phone and he said, ‘Jason, you are a remarkable guy, but you are not getting into any of these colleges.’ Jason's face went white,” Krause said.

Singer told them one of the main reasons was because he didn’t go to Latin, a Francis Parker or a New Trier.

However, his mother continued to work with Singer by placing a couple more phone calls with him — all the while thinking he was legit.

She said he asked her very early on during their conversations whether they had money. She said they didn’t have unlimited cash. She said Singer said there were side doors into universities.

“When he mentioned the $500,000 I thought that was the amount. I never said, ‘What can you do for us for $10,000?’ Then again, it never crossed my mind. I never dreamed of paying to get a kid into college,” Krause said.

Eventually, the calls got shorter, he was disinterested and Krause said she never paid Singer a dime for his time.

Jason ended up going to Loyola University Chicago where he is now in theater, plays in a band and dreams of being in the music industry someday.

What this Chicago family has learned through it all was that the college admissions process is not perfect and that it really doesn’t matter where you go. It matters what you do when you get there.

The Krauses said while nothing they spoke about went down a criminal path, Krause judy does not believe what is being alleged in the State of Massachusetts against the 50 criminal defendants is quite as benign.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.