Former Harvard coach accused of accepting bribery


A general view of Harvard University campus is seen on April 22, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A former fencing coach allegedly accepted $1.5 million to facilitate the admission of two businessman’s sons to Harvard.

The former head coach of men’s and women’s fencing at Harvard conspired with a Maryland businessman to facilitate the admission of his sons to Harvard by recruiting them to join the men’s fencing team in exchange for money.

Peter Brand, 67, from Cambridge, Mass., and Jie Zhao, 61, from Potomac, Md., were both indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.

“Jack doesn’t need to take me anywhere and his boys don’t have to be great fencers. All I need is a good incentive to recruit them,” allegedly said Brand.

As part of the alleged scheme, Zhao made a donation of $1 million to a fencing charity founded by a co-conspirator, Zhao’s older son was later admitted to Harvard as a fencing recruit.

The charity passed $100,000 on to the Peter Brand Foundation, a charitable entity established by Brand and his spouse.

Zhao then began to make payments to Brand which are allegedly at least $1.5 million.

The charge of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery can be sentenced to up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of around $250,000.

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