The FBI’s "Operation Varsity Blues” sting captured the nation when news of it broke in March 2019 and now, the story is the subject of a new Netflix documentary titled Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal.
Using a combination of pulled headlines, talking heads, and rather cheesy dramatic reenactments, the documentary pores over all the details of how the authorities took down a college bribery ring that involved some of the nation’s top colleges.
While most of the information covered in the documentary is public knowledge, the creators managed to get an exclusive interview with ex-Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer, who was one of the people who dealt directly with Rick Singer.
But where is John Vandemoer now that the scandal is behind us? Keep scrolling to find out.
Where is John Vandemoer now?
Blending narrative and documentary filmmaking styles, Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal tells the story of the FBI sting that took down a network of bribery and corruption within some of the nation’s most elite colleges. Using dramatizations and recorded wiretaps, the documentary explores how “college coach” Rick Singer orchestrated a fraud scheme that helped kids get into elite colleges after their wealthy parents made "donations" to Rick’s "foundation."
When news of the scandal broke, it captured the nation’s attention particularly due to the involvement of Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, both of whom paid Singer to get their daughters into their desired college. Sadly, they don’t appear in the documentary to offer their side of the story, but Stanford’s ex-sailing coach John Vandemoer does.
John was the only co-conspirator of the scandal to sit down for an interview with the documentarians. Before meeting Rick Singer, John had worked as Stanford’s sailing coach for over a decade and, as court documents point out, although he did accept Singer’s donations in exchange for considering Singer’s candidates, “[the other university figures charged] took money for themselves. [John] did not do that. All the money he took went directly to the sailing program.”
When the bribery scheme was uncovered, John faced serious charges like wire and mail fraud, with each carrying a potential 20-year sentence. He eventually pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering and ultimately took a plea deal that allowed him to serve his time with six months of house arrest, two years of probation, and pay a $10,000 fine.
According to court documents presented by Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal, the judge that sentenced John saw him as “probably the least culpable of all the defendants.”
While serving his sentence, John completed certifications from Cornell University in Data Analytics and Project Management as well as Harvard's CORe certification program. After his house arrest ended in December 2019, he went back to coaching sailing, albeit independently, and according to his LinkedIn profile, he also works as a project manager at a California-based company called Water Solutions, Inc.
In addition to his new career path, John's working on a book about his experience called Rigged Justice: How the College Admissions Scandal Ruined an Innocent Man's Life. The book is set for release in the fall of 2021.
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is now streaming on Netflix.