Montrealer was tipster in U.S. college bribery scandal — and has kids at Yale
He was an A student, a star hockey player and the most popular person in his Wagar High School graduating class of 1980. To the shock of few classmates back then, the Côte-St-Luc native would later earn a scholarship to one of the best universities on the continent, Yale.
But to the shock of many who had known him at Wagar, the same Morrie Tobin is reputedly the point person who provided the tip that led to break-up of the largest college admissions cheating scandal ever in the U.S.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Tobin, who had long left Montreal and had been working as a financial executive in Los Angeles, had been under investigation and charged with a “pump-and-dump” investment scheme (buying cheap stocks and artificially inflating the price to sell them when they’re high), when, in a possible bid for leniency, offered federal authorities information about the scandal.
This information led authorities to William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind behind the bribery scandal, and it has since led to the arrests of 50 wealthy execs and celebs like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, who had paid huge sums — close to $6.5 million — to get their children into the finest U.S. universities.
Former Desperate Housewives star Huffman, married to actor William H. Macy (who has not been charged), and ex-Full House star Loughlin could face a maximum of 20 years in prison for what is now being dubbed the Varsity Blues Scandal.
Tobin apparently wore a wire, according to the Wall Street Journal, to meet with Yale soccer coach Rudy Meredith, who told him that he could arrange for Tobin’s daughter to be recruited on the university’s soccer team in return for a $450,000 payoff.
Tobin, who has not been charged in the cheating scandal but is awaiting sentencing on the securities fraud, has one daughter who graduated from Yale in 2015 and two other daughters who are currently enrolled there.
Noted Montreal criminal lawyer Lloyd Fischler was one of Tobin’s Wagar classmates who wasn’t shocked by this revelation. Fischler had been one of Tobin’s closest friends growing up, but he had lost touch with him in recent years.
“Until we were 25, we were as close as we could be,” Fischler said. “He had it all growing up. Even after he left Yale rather abruptly to go to the University of Vermont, it still seemed like things were going well for him, but obviously such wasn’t the case at all, and things weren’t what they appeared to be.”
Fischler noted that he and a few other former classmates had unsuccessfully tried to track Tobin down a few years ago for a Wagar High reunion.
“He was supposed to come, but nobody has spoken to him in years,” Fischler said. “The feeling was that he had burned a lot of bridges in Montreal.”
Another of Tobin’s Wagar classmates, who wishes not to be named, marvelled how all the guys in his class had envied Tobin for his academic and athletic prowess and how all the girls had crushes on him: “Every guy wanted to be Morrie Tobin. I wanted to be Morrie Tobin when I was growing up.
“But those who knew him best knew that there were family issues at home,” this classmate said. “He lost his mother to an awful suicide when he was very young, and his father had his share of difficulties as well.
“Still Morrie managed to overcome so much to go on to Yale and play hockey there. His brother Larry was also a star hockey player, who, sadly, has had his share of problems as well. But now those who hadn’t heard from Morrie in years are completely stunned about these developments.”
In spite of early family setbacks, Fischler, like most other classmates, felt that Morrie Tobin was destined for hockey greatness.
“Morrie was the most competitive guy I knew,” Fischler said. “Morrie and Larry were the two best hockey players around. They played midget triple-A with Lac St-Louis. Then Morrie got a hockey scholarship to a U.S. prep school, and then the scholarship to Yale. Larry was even better, having played with former Bruins star Ray Bourque.
“It’s really such a tragedy, because Morrie was as bright as they come … the full package,” Fischler said. “It has those real Greek tragedy proportions. What a sad story on every level.”