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USC student says alleged mastermind behind college admissions scandal solicited her mom

USC student: How Rick Singer solicited her mom
USC student reveals how Rick Singer solicited her mom as admissions client 03:31

A University of Southern California student is speaking out about the recruiting tactics of the alleged mastermind behind the college admissions scandal. Rick Singer pleaded guilty and led prosecutors to more than 30 parents. Those indicted include actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

"Knowing everything I know now, I just think, thank God because that could've been me," the USC student said. She asked to remain anonymous.

In the midst of her college application process, the 21-year-old said her mother got a call from Singer, reports CBS News correspondent Carter Evans.

"He asked her what my grades were. He asked what my ACT score was. She told him and he said, 'Oh, those aren't getting her into Ivy leagues,'" the student said. She said Singer told her mom he knew how to guarantee admission into Stanford. "He goes, 'Oh, well, you know, is she athletically involved in any way? Is she a star athlete? And my mom goes, 'Oh, this girl can't play anything. She's terrible at athletics,' and he kind of just said, 'Oh, it won't be a problem.'"

"She didn't think it was anything weird," the student added. "She just thought, 'Wow, this guy must be so good at his job that it doesn't matter that my daughter can't shoot a basketball.'"

According to the student, her mother did not seek out Singer. He solicited her as a client after a referral by a family friend. She ultimately turned the offer down, but the pitch apparently worked for others.

Davina Isackson was named in the federal indictment along with her husband, Bruce. It said their oldest daughter got into UCLA after submitting fake soccer credentials. The university's website lists Lauren Isackson as a midfielder on the 2017 team, but she was not pictured in the team photo. The site also says she was team captain of the Woodside Soccer Club from 2012 to 2016. But a club official tells CBS News they have no record of her ever being there.

We were hoping to learn more about what motivated Singer by speaking to his lawyer, Don Heller. But minutes before our scheduled interview Wednesday, Heller told us the assistant U.S. attorney called and discouraged him from talking to the media, reminding him that his client was cooperating with the prosecution.

In a statement, the Department of Justice told CBS News: "Mr. Heller needs to decide what is in his and his client's best interest. The government will not try this case in the media."

"I look back now and think of him as this slimy salesman who probably pitched the same thing to every naïve parent and kid," the USC student said. She said she can see how a scheme like this can be fueled by the intense pressures of getting into college.

"It just goes to show how easily people can be swindled into things and how our culture values getting into prestigious universities so highly that people are willing to do things like this," she added.

As for three of the most high-profile parents in the case, "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin and her husband are due in a Boston court for a hearing next week, while actress Felicity Huffman's court date was pushed back to early next month. They are currently out on bail.

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