The mastermind behind the college admissions bribery scandal, William “Rick” Singer, has been offering unsolicited investment advice to his homeowners’ association as he awaits sentencing — but his neighbor’s aren’t biting, according to a new report.
Singer, 61, apparently proposed an “investment strategy” for his Florida mobile home park’s $10,000 savings fund, a move that was frowned upon by the HOA, said a report by the Bay Area News Group published Monday.
Susan Hurt, secretary of the Isle of Palm Home Owners Association, said she replied, “No, no, no, no, no” when Singer offered to help invest the $10,000 savings.
The admissions scam ringleader — who flipped on college administrators and parents like Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin — moved out of his 5,100-square-foot home in Newport Beach, Calif., after his 2019 arrest in the feds’ “Operation Varsity Blues.”
He now lives at the mobile home park in St. Petersburg, FL., where he enjoys playing Rummikub at the clubhouse, mingling with his neighbors and exercising by riding a stationary bike on the porch of his yellow trailer, according to the report.
Singer, who pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme and is set to be sentenced in September, told the HOA, “I know how to handle that and I can take care of that and we can get this taken care of quickly,” according to Hurt.
Hurt said she declined Singer’s offer to help, and instead wrote him a letter that said, “Thank you for your interest in wanting to help us, but we’re going to manage this ourselves.”
“I’ve got alarm bells going off in my head that I don’t want him anywhere near the money, because this is money that has been saved by people in the park for over a decade,” she told the outlet. “I thought, ‘Oh, good God. Got a Ponzi scheme we might be interested in?’”
Asked about the plot in which he helped get the children of celebrities and wealthy families admitted into some of the country’s most prestigious universities, Singer told the outlet, “I’m just trying to help the world.”
Singer — who remains free on $500,000 bail after agreeing to cooperate with authorities — didn’t try to hide his identity when he purchased his $22,000 trailer, according to Kat Paluzzi, whose family previously owned the park.
“What are the friggin’ chances? It’s like this tiny— it’s not even a good part of St. Petersburg,” she told the outlet.
Paluzzi, whose family sold the park to New York investors just months before Singer bought his trailer, said they did a background check and consulted with their lawyer before selling to him.
“What could we do?,” she said. “It’s not like he’s a threat to his neighbors. He’s not going to plow into their house like a massive drink or something. There was just no real cause for concern.”
Singer has garnered mixed reviews from his neighbors, most of whom are over 55 and live on a fixed income of $1,300, according to the report.
Fellow resident Bill Blankenship said Singer, a fitness fanatic, suggested the park form a walking club and even bought Blankenship pricey walking shoes.
Singer also reportedly donated his old refrigerator and microwave to the Lighthouse Church across the mobile home park and can be seen helping his neighbors from time to time.
According to authorities, Singer owned a for-profit college counseling program and offered a “side door” service for the children of the wealthiest families by guaranteeing admission with doctored transcripts or fraudulent SAT and ACT scores.
In order to run his operation, Singer paid bribes to coaches at elite schools who helped create fake athletic profiles for students, including Loughlin’s two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose.
Singer’s exploits were featured in the 2021 Netflix documentary “Operation Varsity Blues,” which mixed real-life players with dramatic re-enactments that used court transcripts and recordings by federal authorities during their extensive investigation.
Singer pleading guilty in 2019 to four felonies, including racketeering, conspiracy to defraud the federal government, obstruction of justice and money laundering.
He faces “incarceration at the low end” of the federal sentencing guidelines and up to three years of supervised release when he is sentenced on September 15, according to federal authorities.