Los Altos Hills man admits college admissions scandal connection

A Los Altos Hills man has revealed himself as a parent implicated in the college admissions scandal by disclosing the link to his Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

On Wednesday (March 27), Lightspeed Venture Partners announced it had terminated its relationship with co-founder Christopher Schaepe after learning William “Rick” Singer – alleged orchestrator of the “Varsity Blues” scandal – helped Schaepe’s son get into the University of Texas at Austin.

“Lightspeed Partner Chris Schaepe recently made the firm aware of a personal matter,” according to a statement from the Menlo Park company. “We determined to separate from Chris to ensure this matter does not interfere with firm operations. The matter does not involve the firm, its personnel or its portfolio companies.”

Schaepe denies any wrongdoing in the case and has not been arrested, according to a spokesperson for Sard Verbinnen & Co., the communications company representing him.

“The Schaepes were deeply disturbed that the person they had trusted to guide them through the college application process was engaged in inappropriate acts,” according to a statement from Sard Verbinnen & Co. “Like countless other families, they believed that his services and his foundation were all above board and were shocked by his deception.”

Singer, founder of The Edge College & Career Network LLC in Newport Beach, has admitted to accepting upwards of $25 million from dozens of parents across the country – including Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin – to facilitate their children’s admission to college through entrance exam cheating and/or the bribing of university coaches and administrators. Singer pleaded guilty March 12 to charges of racketeering conspiracy, money-laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice in order to secure leniency.

A source with knowledge of the case confirmed Schaepe is the unnamed parent described in the criminal complaint against former UT men’s tennis coach Michael Center, who was arrested March 12 and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud. The university dismissed Center a day later.

In or around 2015, Center agreed to accept approximately $100,000 from Singer to designate a student from Los Altos Hills as a student-athlete recruited to the tennis team even though he did not play the sport competitively, according to the complaint. Shortly after starting classes at UT, the student voluntarily left the team. His parent allegedly made more than $630,000 in stock donations to The Key Worldwide Foundation, a nonprofit corporation run by Singer.

Read more about the college admissions scandal.

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