Second Funkiest White Man in America
Is this really something brand new?
Some of it is. For instance, Photoshopping faces onto pictures and misrepresenting students as athletes is fairly new, as far as I know.
I can see how this started. I remember back in 2011, I had a conversation with a friend. Both of us had high school seniors and were talking about college scholarships. He told me there were lots of scholarships available for sports, if people just looked for them.
For instance, the University of Arizona was offering a full ride to females who rowed, and always seemed unable to fill their scholarships. My friend said that all you had to do was commit to rowing at Arizona, and you could get a free ride.
Now, my friend's point wasn't to defraud the university. Our assumption was that if you took advantage of this scholarship, then you had to join the rowing team and fulfill all the obligations thereto.
But I can see how dishonest people like this William Singer fellow saw the same thing and thought, "Hey - all I have to do is lie on behalf of applying students and I can people a free college education. And they'll pay me for that!" Singer's scheme probably started like that and then morphed into the off-shore charity-funding tax-avoiding scam that's going to put Aunt Becky in the pokey.
The other aspect - paying someone to take your SAT test - isn't new. That's been around forever. Near as I can tell, you have to have someone on the inside in order to pull this off, and Singer had people on the inside.
Don't confuse what Aunt Becky and Felicity Huffman did with what people like Donald Trump and Dr. Dre did. Trump and Dre made sizable donations to universities who later - surprise! - admitted their kids. Clearly simpletons like Donald Trump, Jr. could never get into Penn on their own. However, there is never a written agreement that guarantees admission in exchange for donation. In fact, sometimes people give money and it doesn't work. You pays your money and you takes your chances.
[Edited 4/10/19 8:00am]