A man walks through a gate to the Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. File picture: Brian Snyder/Reuters
A man walks through a gate to the Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. File picture: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Former fencing coach, businessman charged in Harvard admission bribery scheme

By Reuters Time of article published Nov 16, 2020

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By Nate Raymond

Boston - A former fencing coach at Harvard University and a Maryland businessman were arrested on Monday on charges that they engaged in a bribery scheme aimed at securing the admission of the businessman's two sons to the Ivy League school.

Federal prosecutors in Boston said that Peter Brand, the former coach, accepted more than $1.5 million in bribes from Jie "Jack" Zhao in exchange for helping his sons get into Harvard by recruiting them to the men's fencing team.

The charges followed an investigative report by the Boston Globe last year into how Brand sold his home to Zhao for over its assessed market value. Harvard in July 2019 fired the longtime coach following the report.

The Globe's report came a month after federal prosecutors in Boston in March 2019 unveiled the first charges in the U.S. college admissions scandal, in which wealthy parents engaged in bribery and cheating schemes to secure spots for their children at selective universities.

"This case is part of our long-standing effort to expose and deter corruption in college admissions," U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement.

Brand is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston later in the day, while Zhao will make an initial appearance in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Attorneys for the men did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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