Jie “Jack” Zhao is accused of making multiple payments to then-coach Peter Brand in an effort to get his sons admitted as fencing recruits.

Harvard Universitys former head fencing coach was charged Monday along with a parent in an alleged $1.5 million bribery scheme to get the businessmans sons into the school as fencing recruits.
Peter Brand, 67, and Jie Jack Zhao, 61, who is a telecommunication CEO in Maryland, were arrested Monday on charges of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, the U.S. Attorneys Office in Massachusetts announced.
Authorities say Zhao made multiple payments either directly to Brand or for his personal benefit in exchange for his two sons admission to the prestigious Massachusetts school as fencing recruits. Both of Zhaos sons would go on to enroll at the school in 2014 and 2017, respectively.
Zhao allegedly paid for Brands car, made college tuition payments for Brands son, paid the mortgage on Brands [Massachusetts] residence, and later purchased the residence for well above its market value, thus allowing Brand to purchase a more expensive residence in Cambridge that Zhao then paid to renovate, prosecutors said in a release.
Brand did not disclose details of the payments to Harvard during the recruitment of Zhaos sons, prosecutors said.
Attorneys for both men, in statements to the media, denied the charges against them.
Jack Zhaos children were academic stars in high school and internationally competitive fencers who obtained admission to Harvard on their own merit, Zhaos attorney Bill Weinreb told HuffPost in an email. Both of them fenced for Harvard at the Division One level throughout their college careers. Mr. Zhao adamantly denies these charges and will vigorously contest them in court.
Suspicions about the mens financial dealings arose in 2019 after The Boston Globe revealed that in 2016 Zhao purchased Brands home in Needham, Massachusetts, for nearly $1 million. This price was hundreds of thousands of dollars above the homes $549,300 assessed market value. Roughly five months later, Zhaos younger son received a letter from Harvard informing him that he was likely to be accepted as a fencing recruit.
Makes no sense, the towns top assessor wrote in his notes following the homes sale, according to the Globe.
The university launched an investigation shortly after the Globes report and dismissed Brand in June 2019 for violating the schools conflict-of-interest policy.
Prosecutors also began investigating the mens affairs last year and determined that Zhao in February 2013 donated $1 million to a fencing charity that authorities said was operated by a co-conspirator. Later that year, Zhaos older son was admitted to Harvard as a fencing recruit. The charity later passed $100,000 of its funds to the Peter Brand Foundation, which is a charitable entity established by Brand and his wife.
The bribery conspiracy charge carries up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
The charges against Zhao and Brand are separate from the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, Operation Varsity Blues, which led to the conviction of multiple parents, including actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.
Brands attorney did not immediately respond to HuffPosts request for comment.