The former Harvard coach supposedly required the bribes to ensure the entrance of the executive kids to the Ivy League faculty as fencing recruits.
A former leading fencing coach at Harvard University and also a telecommunications executive were detained Monday in an alleged bribery scheme involving the institution’s fencing team, national police said.
Brand supposedly procured admissions for Zhao’s two kids to Harvard as fencing recruits in trade for over $1.5 million in bribes, the office said in a statement.
The prices were filed over a year following that the Boston Globe first reported which Zhao purchased Brand’s house in Needham, southwest of Boston, for almost $1 million, or $440,000 over its appraised value.
Zhao, CEO of a telecom firm who resides in Maryland, supposedly made some other collection of obligations into Brand in 2015 that coated school loans because of his kids and their tuition at Penn State University. In addition, he compensated Brand’s water, mortgage and sewer debts, and gave him a 34,563 automobile loan, the records state.
These payments came after Zhao’s old son was likewise admitted to Harvard as a fencing recruit in 2013. According to the records, Zhao donated $1 million into some fencing charity, and that then paid $100,000 to a base which Brand and his wife had recently launched.
The records say the scheme started after his spouse were fighting to pay invoices.
Harvard fired Brand in 2019 following the Globe reported to the house sale. The college’s athletic director said he’d violated the university’s conflict of interest policy.
In a statement Monday, Brand’s attorney explained Zhao’s kids as”academic and fencing celebrities” and said the former trainer had done nothing wrong in the admissions procedure.
Zhao’s attorney, Bill Weinreb, stated that Zhao”adamantly denies the charges and will vigorously contest them .”
The charges come over a year after federal prosecutors in Massachusetts declared fees in a sprawling scheme — detected in an investigation dubbed Operation Varsity Blues — who targeted dozens of wealthy parents that procured admissions for their kids to elite universities via a for-profit school prep adviser, Rick Singer. One of those captured in the scam were celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.
The charges from Zhao and Brand are independent from Operation Varsity Blues.
U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling predicted the charges declared Monday as”portion of our longstanding attempt to expose and discourage corruption in school admissions.”