“Operation Varsity Blues” might sound like a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the 1999 James Van Der Beek movie. (If only.) But it’s actually the code name the FBI used to investigate the conspiracy that a man was helping rich people get their kids into college. The conspiracy was true, the man was William Rick Singer, and the incident came to be known as the college admissions scandal. You know, that one time celebs like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their kids into college.
It’s only been two years since the scandal broke, but apparently, we’re already ready to reflect back on it and see what we learned. Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal premiered on Netflix on March 17. (Remember Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, aka the Netflix Fyre Fest doc? Same director.) And it takes you deep inside how the bust went down.
Part of what made the scandal so, well, scandalous was that such high-profile names like Loughlin and Huffman were involved. But the Netflix college admissions scandal documentary goes beyond the celebs and focuses heavily on Rick Singer, the mastermind behind the whole thing. The doc features real conversations recreated from FBI wiretaps. Singer is portrayed by actor Matthew Modine, aka Dr. Brenner from Stranger Things.
“We help the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school,” Modine-as-Singer explains in a scene in the documentary trailer. “So I’ve done 761 what I would call ‘side doors.’ The front door means getting in on your own. So I’ve created this kind of side door in, because my families want a guarantee.” Please excuse us while we roll our eyes for a thousand years.
So, what happened to Rick Singer?
Singer cooperated with the FBI’s investigation. According to CNN, in March 2019, he pleaded guilty to four felony charges: racketeering conspiracy, money laundering, tax conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. But as of the release of Operation Varsity Blues, he still hasn’t been sentenced yet. How is that possible? The documentary explains that Singer needs to testify at other defendants’ trials, which could impact his own sentence. He’s facing up to 65 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $1.25 million fine.
Singer has found a few ways to pass the time. First, he sold his Newport Beach, CA house for a casual $2.52 million. Then, he briefly pursued a doctorate in psychology from Grand Canyon University in Arizona. (Too…many…jokes…to…think…of…just…one.) But USA Today reported that as of July 2020, he was no longer enrolled. We’re still not sure when he’ll be sentenced.
How about that Varsity Blues behind-the-scenes documentary next?
Want all the deets on the college admissions scandal? Yeah. We know you do. You can find all of our coverage here.
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