A California accountant who allegedly worked for the mastermind of the so-called “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal is set to plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy.
Unsealed court documents revealed Friday that Steven Masera, a 69-year-old bookkeeper for William “Rick” Singer’s firm, plans to cooperate with investigators, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Singer, already a cooperating witness, is the founder of The Key, a Newport Beach college counseling company that offered families of prospective students assistance in getting into top schools. He and his partners allegedly pulled it off through myriad scams in which wealthy parents were complicit.
Prosecutors say Masera helped Singer launder fees paid by clients to rig college entrance exams and bribe sports coaches to portray their children as team recruits, according to Bloomberg News.
Singer also established the Key Worldwide Foundation, a phony charity through which he hid the nature of the funds, passing them off as donations for underprivileged kids, prosecutors say.
The LA Times reported that Masera addressed letters to parents from the foundation, falsely claiming that they received nothing in return for their five- to six-figure payments that prosecutors allege were in fact being given to exam proctors and coaches involved in the scam. Using the fake letters, families were able to disguise the payments as tax write-offs.
Others involved in the scandal include “Full House” star Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli and “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to shelling out $15,000 to hike her daughter’s SAT scores. Loughlin and Giannulli, however, have pleaded not guilty. According to People, the couple faces charges of money laundering conspiracy and mail fraud, and could spend up to 20 years in prison for each charge if convicted.
More than a dozen other parents have also been indicted in the case.