The college admission fraud: and the beat goes on

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It looks like there are a lot more people who should be charged in the college admission scandal.

William Singer, who used his Key Worldwide Foundation to help wealthy parents fraudulently get their children into top colleges. said in recorded calls in 2018 that he had helped 760 students in the previous school year get into college by what he described as “the side door”, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In  other words, there’s  a slew of parents and students not yet disclosed who participated in the college admission scheme. Federal prosecutors have so far identified only  50 defendants across six states.

Any parents who funneled money through the fraudulent Key Worldwide Foundation to get their kids into colleges could also be targeted if they deducted the payments on their taxes as charitable contributions.

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Then there’s Dawud Raamuh, John Peter Byrne Jr. and Steve Masera.

Never heard of them?

Raamuh is the Secretary of the Key Worldwide Foundation, the 501(c)(3) non-profit that William Singer used to help wealthy parents fraudulently get their children into top colleges. Byrne serves as Director of the Foundation and Masera as Treasurer. They all should be held responsible for this fiasco.

A deeper look into the activities of Singer, who’s the Foundation’s President and CEO, is warranted, too. He may have used the Foundation to reinforce his own son’s attendance at DePaul University. Forms filed with the IRS by the Foundation show it donated $150,000 to the school in 2014, 2015 and 2016 while his son was a student there until graduating in 2017.

Form 990 IRS reports non-profits are required top file annually say the Foundation received $7,065,675 in contributions and spent close to $4,953,630 during 2013-2016. Shouldn’t the Foundation’s personnel be held responsible for the Foundation’s malfeasance?

The Foundation reported to the IRS that in 2016 it received $3,736,160 in Gifts, grants, contributions, and membership fees and made $860,112 in cash grants and other assistance to domestic organizations, including:

$150,000 to Chapman University, Orange, CA

$11,000 to Community Donations, Sacramento, CA

$50,000 to DePaul University, Chicago, Il

$18,550 to Friends of Cambodia, Palo, Alto, CA

$10,000 to the Ladylike Foundation, Los Angeles, CA

$39,900 to Loyola High School, Los Angeles, CA

$83,181 to NYU Athletics, New York, NY

$100,000 to Princeville Enterprises, Los Angeles, CA

$60,000 to University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

$252,500 to University of Texas Athletics, Austin, TX

$25,000 to the USC Soccer Program, Los Angeles, CA

$50,000 to USC Women’s Athletics Board, Los Angeles, CA

There are questions, however, about whether even the listed donations occurred or were legitimate.

For example, NBC Bay Area  TV spoke with Elia and Halimah Van Tuyl, who run Friends of Cambodia. They said they’d never heard of the Key Worldwide Foundation and had never received any money from it in 2016 (or 2015, when the Foundation’s Form 990 reported it donated $18,550 to Friends of Cambodia).

In another case, it looks like the $100,000 listed as a donation to Princeville Enterprises in Los Angeles, CA went to the same address as the home of UCLA soccer coach, Jorge Salcedo.

Salcedo was indicted on Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for conspiracy to commit racketeering in the college admissions fraud case. He is accused of taking $200,000 to help admit one female and one male applicant to UCLA under the pretense they were soccer recruits when they didn’t even play competitive soccer.

Donations to the USC Women’s Athletics Board look suspicious, too. According to the federal indictment, Singer’s clients sent more than $1.3 million in bribes to USC accounts controlled by Donna Heinel, USC’s former senior associate athletic director. Many of the payments sent during 2014 – 2018 went to the USC Women’s Athletic Board.

With these cases in question, others probably deserve scrutiny, too.

 

 

 

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Portland’s XRAY.FM: skating on the edge

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XRAY.FM, a progressive non-profit radio station in Portland, was launched with much fanfare on March 15, 2014 with the backing of Portland taxpayers in the form of a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC).

I was interested in how XRAY was doing, so I asked Cascade Educational Broadcast Service, XRAY’s parent, for copies of its Form 990 federal tax filings for 2013 and forward. I figured the station would get back to me without any fuss because the law requires tax-exempt organizations to allow public inspection of their recent federal annual information returns. In my case, no such luck. Despite repeated requests, Cascade never responded to my queries.

So I went directly to the IRS. They promptly sent me Cascade’s Form 990 for 2013, but that was it. “There is no record of filing for periods 2014 and 2015,” said Jeffrey Austin, Disclosure Manager with the IRS.

The 2013 filing, submitted on Nov. 12, 2014, shows that in 2013, during its organizational stage, Cascade took in contributions of $23,820 and spent $19,626.

What were its revenue and expenses in 2014, its first year of operation? Got me. How about its second year, 2015? Who knows? According to the IRS, after 2013, Cascade simply stopped filing any federal tax returns. There is no record of filing for periods 2014 and 2015,” said IRS Disclosure Manager, Jeffrey Austin.

That’s a problem.

Tax-exempt organizations are required to file annual returns. If an organization doesn’t file a required return or files late, the IRS may assess penalties. In addition, if an organization doesn’t file as required for three consecutive years, it automatically loses its tax-exempt status.

That means one more year of negligence would put XRAY’s tax-exempt status at risk.

What a shame it would be if that happened to this progressive mouthpiece.