Fixer at center of college admission scandal donated to DePaul

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CHICAGO — Documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service reveal the man at the center of a college admissions scandal donated at least $150,000 to DePaul University where his son was a student.

Federal prosecutors said William Singer was the CEO of a college admissions prep company that used bribery, cheating and fraud to help the children of rich and famous people get into elite colleges and universities.  Singer also operated the Key Worldwide Foundation, a charity, that made three $50,000 donations to DePaul University in 2014, 2015, and 2016.  Those contributions were revealed in the charity’s Form 990 filings with the IRS.

Singer’s son is a 2017 graduate of DePaul University in Chicago.

Prosecutors describe the Key Worldwide Foundation as playing a key role in the fraud. The foundation was  “a front Singer used to launder the money that parents paid him,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said.

DePaul University said it has not found any evidence to suggest the local donations are connected to the recent indictments.  The university released a statement saying:

DePaul is among the many universities that received gifts from the foundation at the center of the admissions fraud case. We have confirmed receiving gifts totaling $150,000 from Key Worldwide Foundation, managed by William Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network and the father of a DePaul student who graduated in 2017.

DePaul solicits a number of constituencies for gifts, including parents. Not unlike many parents, Mr. Singer made several contributions to DePaul. These gifts were made by the Key Worldwide Foundation in 2014, 2015 and 2016 while his son was a student. All were in support of helping students study abroad.

To date, our review has not revealed any reason to believe these donations are connected to recent indictments.

The DePaul spokesperson did not immediately say where the first donation occurred before Singer’s son was admitted to the university.


Two of the foundation’s donations to DePaul were specifically earmarked for the university’s religious studies program.  The IRS filing notes the third donation was made more generically to “DePaul University.”

Tuesday, 50 people, including Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were charged in the scheme that federal authorities called it the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department, with the parents accused of paying an estimated $25 million in bribes.

At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents, many of them prominent in law, finance or business, were among those charged. Dozens, including Huffman, were arrested by midday.

The coaches worked at such schools as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles. A former Yale soccer coach pleaded guilty and helped build the case against others.

Prosecutors said parents paid an admissions consultant from 2011 through last month to bribe coaches and administrators to falsely make their children look like star athletes to boost their chances of getting into college. The consultant also hired ringers to take college entrance exams for students, and paid off insiders at testing centers to alter students’ scores.

View Key Worldwide Foundation charity filings:


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