Los Angeles Times

College admissions scandal mastermind found fertile hunting grounds in wealth management world

LOS ANGELES - The wealthy couple willing to pay him millions lived in Beijing, but William "Rick" Singer needed only to go to Pasadena to find them.

Michael Wu, a financial adviser for banking behemoth Morgan Stanley, worked on the seventh floor of an office building in the city outside Los Angeles. Wu specialized in Chinese clients and spent his days helping to invest their fortunes. When a Beijing pharmaceutical magnate and his wife wanted assistance getting their daughter admitted into a top-tier American university in late 2017, Wu turned to Singer for help.

Singer, who has since admitted to running the brazen college admissions scam that federal prosecutors brought down in March with criminal charges against dozens of people, was no stranger to Morgan Stanley or other big investment firms. For years he had been peddling his college admissions consulting services to wealth management advisers, who offered Singer up as a perk to clients desperate for help improving their children's college prospects.

The Los Angeles Times reported last month that Zhao Tao, the chairman of a large Chinese drug company, and his wife

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times3 min read
Ailing Angels Lose Again As They Limp Toward Finish Line
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Brad Ausmus' pregame media session Saturday afternoon quickly turned into a glorified injury update. On an Angels team that seems to get more banged up by the day, there was plenty for the first-year manager to cover. Asked whether
Los Angeles Times4 min read
California Lawmakers Fail To Act On Recycling Bills To Phase Out Single-use Plastics
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California lawmakers adjourned early Saturday without acting on bills that would have made their state the first to partially phase out single-use containers, with supporters unable to overcome lobbying from industry opponents. T
Los Angeles Times8 min read
For Saints And Fans, It Remains A No-call To Arms
NEW ORLEANS - Thomas Morstead refused to watch the most recent Super Bowl. So he watched another one. Morstead, a punter for the New Orleans Saints, participated this year in the region-wide boycott of the Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and