Potomac man charged in Harvard admissions scheme


FILE – In this Aug. 13, 2019 file photo, students walk near the Widener Library at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. A federal appeals court on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020 has upheld a district court decision clearing Harvard University of intentional discrimination against Asian American applicants. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

POTOMAC, Md. (WDVM) — A Potomac, Maryland man is facing federal charges after allegedly spending millions of dollars to get his two sons admitted to Harvard.

61-year-old businessman Jie Zhao, who also went by Jack, and Harvard’s former head fencing coach Peter Brand were charged with conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.

The United States Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts says back in 2012, Brand told Zhao that his sons “didn’t need to be good fencers to get in, but he needed a good incentive to recruit them.”

That’s when the payments from Zhao started flowing, with some going to charity, but other payments went toward cars, homes, renovations, and tuition payments for Brand’s son.

The payments totaled over $1.5 million. If convicted, the two face big fines and up to five years in prison.

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