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Morgan Stanley Fired Advisor with Alleged Ties to College Admission Fraud Ring

May 2, 2019

Wirehouse Morgan Stanley fired a financial advisor who allegedly introduced a Chinese family to the mastermind behind the far-ranging U.S. college admissions bribing scandal, according to news reports.

The wirehouse discharged Michael Wu in April for allegedly failing to cooperate with an internal investigation into his role in the college admissions scandal, Morgan Stanley tells the Wall Street Journal.

Wu allegedly introduced the Chinese family to William "Rick" Singer, a person familiar with the matter tells the paper. The family paid Singer $6.5 million to secure a spot for their child at Stanford University, the person tells the Journal.

Singer, the founder, CEO and master coach of the Key Worldwide Foundation, pleaded guilty in March to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and obstruction of justice, as reported.

The family has not been charged, despite the $6.5 million payment being the highest cited by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts prosecuting the admissions fraud, the paper writes.

Wu didn’t respond to the Journal’s request for comment while Morgan Stanley tells the paper it’s cooperating with authorities.

The wirehouse also tells the Journal that Singer’s college counseling operation was at some point on its list of referral organizations. A person familiar with the arrangement tells the paper Singer’s firm was taken off the list after 2015.

(iStock Photos)

Wu is at least the second advisor who had allegedly facilitated introductions to Singer. Qiuxue Yang, an Oppenheimer & Co. advisor, allegedly introduced a Chinese family to Singer for help getting their daughter into Yale University, for which the family allegedly paid $1.2 million.

Oppenheimer told the Journal earlier this week that the family had never been a client of the firm and that Yang met the family and recommended Singer to them in her capacity as the family’s translator.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Wall Street Journal article cited in this story, click here.