Federal officials on Monday accused a Maryland CEO of paying more than $ 1.5 million to a former fencing coach to admit his two sons to Harvard University.
Jem “Jack”, 61, Potomac, Md., And 67-year-old former fencing coach Peter Brand of Cambridge, Mass., Were charged with conspiracy to bribe federal programs, the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Massachusetts said. In a release.
Prosecutors allege that Zhao, who is the CEO of telecom company iTalk Global Communications, conspired with the brand to get Zhao’s sons enrolled in college. Brand, who coached men’s and women’s fencing teams, recruited Zoe’s sons to join the men’s team in exchange for money.
Officials said that Brand told a co-conspirator in or about May 2012 that “Jack doesn’t need to take me anywhere and his boys don’t need to be great fencer.” I need a good incentive to recruit them[.] You can tell him[.]”
In February 2013, Zhao allegedly donated $ 1 million to a Fenning charity run by a co-conspirator before his elder son was admitted to Harvard and started in the fall of 2014.
The charity then gave $ 100,000 to the Peter Brand Foundation, a charitable organization started by Brand and his spouse. Prosecutors said Zhao paid “for or for the benefit of the brand”.
The Maryland executive allegedly paid for the brand’s car, paid college tuition for the brand’s son, paid a mortgage on a house and bought that housing for more than its market value. The brand then bought a Cambridge residence that Zhao’s money went to for renovation.
Brand worked as a fencing coach from 1999 until last year when Harvard fired him after investigating the sale of his home.
Zhao’s younger son started at Harvard in 2017.
Prosecutors claim that Brand did not tell Harvard about the payment at the time of the recruitment of both sons.
The men could face up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $ 250,000 or twice the gross profit or loss, whichever is higher, according to the release.
US Attorney Andrew Lilling said the case was “part of our long-standing effort to uncover and destroy corruption in college admissions.”
“Every year millions of teenagers strive for college admission,” he said. “We’ll do our part to make it as level of the playground as we possibly can.”
The allegations are the latest as federal authorities crack down on college admission-related offenses, whose parents are exposed in March 2019 with the scandal of wealthy parents using bribes to get their children admitted to college. .
Zhao’s lawyer Bill Weinreb denied Zhao’s wrongdoing in a statement Se cnn.
He said, “Jack Zhao’s children were educational stars of high school and internationally competitive fencers who gained admission at Harvard on the basis of their merit.” “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.”