There’s a dark side to the American dream. From the creators of Root of Evil, Gangster Capitalism Season 1 is centered on the 2019 college admissions scandal that is exposing everyone from CEOs to celebrities. Award-winning documentarian, Andrew Jenks, uncovers the origins and inner workings of this unprecedented scam, introducing you to the people involved, and exploring the larger debate around higher education that has been brought to the forefront. The final chapter of this story is still being written, as the federal investigation into these crimes continues to grow and unfold.Gangster Capitalism is a production of C13Originals, a division of Cadence13.
An argument is made that just because we are repelled by the indicted parents’ behavior, that doesn’t make it criminal. In fact, one opinion is that the parents may face no punishment. Some solutions are presented, but a mother and a son show us that any real change must come from within.
A Singer parent negotiates a deal for her son to have the ACT taken for him, without him even being in the same state, and a college admissions insider reveals the a la carte menu that wealthy parents have when donating to schools, also known as “The Backdoor.” But as it turns out, paying top dollar for access to admissions offices can start as far back as preschool. This episode looks at the legal ways in which parents get their kids into college, no matter how dubious they may seem.
A best friend, a mentee, and a former coworker provide an intimate account of Rick Singer’s transition from the boy determined to transform himself, to the coach who refused to accept failure, to the man whose obsession with wealth would be his ultimate undoing. These people, and their stories are being heard for the first time, and a new picture of who Rick Singer really is, finally emerges.
Federal agents make an arrest for securities fraud, and get much more than expected. They are offered information that leads to a man they’d never heard of - Rick Singer, and the biggest scandal in education history. Once Singer is caught, he brings everybody else with him through conversations that shed light on the world of those involved, and their sense of entitlement.
Rick Singer’s “Side Door” has another, more expensive option that clients like actor, Lori Loughlin opt for. The scam? $500,000 to get your kids accepted to college as Division 1 athletes - even if they never actually played the sport. Race and status are explored, as this scandal forces all of us to confront uncomfortable subjects.
Through transcriptions of wiretapped conversations between Rick Singer, Felicity Huffman, and others, Episode 1 brings to life just how dirty these schemes were. We also hear from a student who cheated on his SAT, a psychologist who deals with students and parents trying to game the system to get more time to take the SAT and ACT, and Jenks breaks news by finding the ringleader, Rick Singer, in an unlikely place.