Stanford Sailing coach John Vandemoer was among 50 people in six states charged by federal prosecutors today in connection with a massive college admissions scandal centered around a California-based college prep business.
The Justice Department’s largest college admissions prosecution ever exposes a massive scandal centered around William Rick Singer, the founder of a college prep business called the Edge College & Career Network, also known as The Key. According to the indictment, Singer used The Key and its nonprofit branch, Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF), to bribe standardized testing officials into allowing a third-party to take tests in the place of his clients’ children, as well as college coaches to recruit his clients’ children as athletes. Vandemoer took multiple payments for the Stanford Sailing program in exchange for recruiting children of Singer’s clients who were not qualified athletes.
In the summer of 2017, Vandemoer agreed to “designate the child of one of Singer’s clients ('Stanford Applicant 1') as a recruit for the Stanford sailing team, which included submitting a student-athlete profile to the university that “falsely suggested that Stanford Applicant 1 was a competitive sailor,” in exchange for a payment to Stanford sailing. When Stanford Applicant 1 deferred his acceptance for a year, Singer paid Stanford sailing $110,000 through a KWF charitable account to maintain Stanford Applicant 1’s recruiting spot.
When Stanford Applicant 1 chose to attend a different university, Vandemoer agreed to “use that same recruiting spot for the child of another one of Singer’s clients ('Stanford Applicant 2'), in exchange for a $500,000 payment to the Stanford sailing program,” creating “documents falsely indicating that the student was a competitive sailor, although the student in fact had minimal sailing experience.” And, though Stanford Applicant 2 did not end up following through with their application, Singer paid Stanford sailing another $160,000 through the same KWF account, which Vandemoer agreed would serve as a "deposit" on the next fake recruit.
Stanford released a statement this morning to say that Vandemoer has been fired. They also announced that, though “we have no evidence that the alleged conduct involves anyone else at Stanford or is associated with any other team...we will be undertaking an internal review to confirm that.” SFChronicle reported that Vandemoer will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, and the plea deal will recommend an 18-month prison sentence. Vandemoer did not respond to FoHo’s request for comment by press time.
Read the full indictment here.