Beverly Hills real estate mogul sentenced in college admissions scandal dies by suicide

A man leaving a courthouse
Robert Flaxman leaves federal court in Boston after a March 2019 hearing in a nationwide college admissions scandal.
(Nicolaus Czarnecki / Boston Herald)

Robert Flaxman, a Beverly Hills real estate developer who pleaded guilty in 2019 to conspiring with William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind behind the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal, died by suicide last week at his Malibu home.

Flaxman, 66, spent a month in jail and was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service after he admitted to participating in the admissions scam by paying Singer $75,000 to rig his daughter’s ACT exam.

The real estate mogul died Oct. 20 in his residence, and his case has been marked as closed by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner.


A federal judge has ordered a new trial for Jovan Vavic, finding some evidence introduced in his fraud and bribery case to be unreliable.

Sept. 15, 2022

His death was first reported by the Real Deal.

Flaxman was among about three dozen parents, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, who were charged with working with Singer, a Newport Beach consultant who orchestrated the college admissions fraud, which included doctored test scores and buying seats at elite universities through athletic coaches. Singer has pleaded guilty to four felonies. The federal investigation into the scheme was known as Operation Varsity Blues.

Suicide prevention and crisis counseling resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, seek help from a professional and call 9-8-8. The United States’ first nationwide three-digit mental health crisis hotline 988 will connect callers with trained mental health counselors. Text “HOME” to 741741 in the U.S. and Canada to reach the Crisis Text Line.

Flaxman’s attorney, William Weinreb, said that his client had been driven by a misguided desire to help his daughter get into a “lower-tier school” after years of troubles left her with a “checkered disciplinary record and modest grades.”

Weinreb said that Flaxman tried to get his daughter’s life back on track by trying to get her into a four-year college and that Singer told him his daughter wouldn’t get into the University of San Francisco or any other school if she didn’t have a good ACT score. Flaxman accepted Singer’s offer to rig the test, Weinreb said.

Flaxman began selling off his Beverly Hills homes in 2020, listing them for a combined $34 million.

Lori Loughlin appeared in a TV special less than two years after she finished her prison sentence for her role in the college admissions scandal.

July 26, 2022