Two Charged in College Admissions Scandal Appear in Sacramento Courtroom

SACRAMENTO -- Two associates of Rick Singer, the former Sacramento man at the center of a massive college admissions cheating scandal, appeared in federal court Tuesday.

According to court documents, 69-year-old Steve Masera worked as an accountant and financial officer for Singer until December of 2017, and 32-year-old Mikaela Sanford worked for Singer's The Key company in a variety of positions.

In Tuesday's hearing, the judge allowed Masera and Sanford to be released on $50,000 and $100,000 unsecured bonds, respectively.

"I just got up, drinking some coffee and then all of a sudden I just hear boom, boom, boom," neighbor Doug Dean, who lives next door to Sanford, told FOX40. "It just gave me chills because it’s quiet, you know?"

Sanford and Masera will be back in court on March 25 to face the racketeering conspiracy charges filed against them.

Dean says he knew Sanford worked from home but wasn't sure what exactly she did.

"She did online stuff for like getting college kids ready for college and stuff. I don’t know exactly what," he said.

Local Students React to the Scandal

For students who did it the right way, it's disheartening to hear about the college admission scam.

"I don't think it's really a surprise that you have wealthy, affluent people paying money to get their students into colleges when they don't necessarily deserve it," said Sacramento State student London Donson.

Federal prosecutors say the scam even involved photoshopping the faces of college applicants onto athletic photographs to make them look like elite athletes.

On Sacramento State's campus, which has no involvement in the scandal, FOX40 met with Don Hunt, associate vice president of Enrollment and Student Services, and asked for his reaction to the scandal.

"I did hear about it today and my first reaction was, 'Is this really happening?'" Hunt said.

He says Sacramento State students work hard to get where they are.

"We do have policies and procedures in place," he told FOX40. "We do have checks and balances in place and people are really adamant about making sure that those rules and regulations are followed."

The application process is designed to ensure all people have access to higher education in a fair and equitable way.

"NCAA regulations is looking at us on compliance. And so if we're even slightly off on those double checks, it's even more important that we make sure that that information is correct, and that every member on the team is participating and we're doing the checks through those processes," Hunt said.

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