Maryland CEO paid former fencing coach $ 1.5 million in bribes to accept Harvard’s own sons


G. “Jack”, Zhao, 61, and Peter Brand, 67, were arrested on Monday and charged with conspiracy to bribe federal programs for alleged settlement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Massachusetts said.

The arrests are just the latest salvo in the huge college admissions scam, first surfaced in March 2019, in which wealthy parents of college applicants cheated on standardized tests, bribed sports coaches and lied about their payments. Money was used.
Harvard's head fencing coach has been accused of selling his house to the family of a prospective student

US Attorney Andrew E. “This case is part of our long-standing effort to uncover and eliminate corruption in college admissions,” Lilling said. “Millions of teenagers strive for college admission every year. We will do our game to create the level of sports that we can.”

A lawyer for Zhao denied the allegations in an email on Monday.

Attorney Bill Weinreb said in a statement, “Jack Zhao’s children were high school and internationally competitive fencers who gained admission to Harvard based on their qualifications.” “Both of them committed to Harvard at Division One level during their college careers. Mr. Zhao strongly denied these charges and would vigorously counter them in court.”

An attorney for the brand did not immediately respond to a request for comment. When the brand was removed in 2019, a lawyer said his client had done nothing wrong.
A sentence of up to five years is possible on conspiracy charges. Other parents were similarly charged and convicts like actress Lori Laughlin were usually sentenced to several months in prison.

Allegedly how the scheme worked

College coaches do not explicitly decide who accepts at university, but their recommendations to the admissions office about some recruited athletes have powerful implications.

The complaint alleges that Zhao made a series of $ 1.5 million payments for branding in which Coach Zhao’s two sons were recruited into the fencing team, which led to their acceptance to the prestigious university.

According to the complaint, in May 2012, Jack said that there was no need to take me and his boys anywhere. “All I need to recruit is a good incentive[.] You can tell him[.]”

betrayal.  Ingestion.  lie.  Here's how the college admission scam allegedly worked

Prosecutors say that in February 2013, Zhao allegedly made a $ 1 million donation to a fencing charity run by a co-conspirator. The plaintiffs say Zhao’s older son was admitted to Harvard in December 2013 and matriculated at the university in the fall of 2014, and shortly after, the conspirator’s fencing charity raised the brand’s charitable foundation for $ 100,000. Paid.

The elder son graduated in 2018, according to The Boston Globe.

As the brand recruited Zhao’s younger son, the businessman made a series of payments to the brand for his personal gain, prosecutors say. The plaintiffs say Zhao allegedly paid for the brand’s car, paid college tuition for the brand’s son, on the need for the brand’s home, paid the mortgage in Massachusetts, and then above market value. Bought a house for.

The payments allowed the brand to purchase a more expensive residence in nearby Cambridge that Zhao again paid to complain. Zhao’s younger son started attending Harvard in 2017, and the complaint alleges that the brand did not tell the university about the payment at the time of recruiting sons.

Needham House payments attracted the attention of Harvard and federal investigators. The brand sold the house to Zao for $ 989,500, according to the deed, almost twice as much as a tax document stating it was worth. Zhao then sold Neidam’s property after about 17 months at a loss of more than $ 300,000.

Following the sale of their Needham home, the brand purchased a condominium in Cambridge. Documents obtained by CNN show that the Cambridge property was originally listed for $ 989,000 – $ 500 less than Zhao paid Neidhouse’s house. The brand purchased the Cambridge condo for about $ 300,000 for the asking price.

CNN’s Augusta Anthony contributed to this report.

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