Ex-Fencing Coach Allegedly Took $1.5M to Get Businessman's Sons Into Harvard

Peter Brand, 67, is accused of accepting more than $1.5 million in bribes from Jie “Jack” Zhao, who has also been arrested

Harvard University campus
Fan Lin/Xinhua via Getty Images

A former Harvard University fencing coach as been arrested for allegedly conspiring with a Maryland businessman to secure admission to the school for the businessman’s two sons.

Peter Brand, 67, of Cambridge, is accused of accepting more than $1.5 million in bribes from Jie “Jack” Zhao, 61, who has also been arrested. Both are changed with conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.

“This case is part of our long-standing effort to expose and deter corruption in college admissions,” Lelling said in a statement. “Millions of teenagers strive for college admission every year. We will do our part to make that playing field as level as we possibly can.”

According to charging documents, Brand told a co-conspirator to tell Zhao that “his boys don’t have to be great fencers” and that all he needed to recruit them was “a good incentive.”

Zhao allegedly made a donation of $1 million to a fencing charity operated by another person involved with the scheme, Lelling’s office said.

Zhao’s older son was admitted as a fencing recruit in February 2013 and the younger son entered the university in 2017, according to Lelling.


In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.

Firefighters take down car fire in Lakeville

Authorities battle fiery crash in Yarmouth

Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli was sentenced to five months in prison Friday for paying half a million dollars in bribes to get his two daughters into the University of Southern California.

Zhao also allegedly bought a car for Brand and paid for Brand's mortgage payments, according to the charging documents. Brand allegedly failed to disclose the payments to the school.

Brand was expected to appear in federal court in Boston Monday, while Zhao was expected to do the same in Maryland.

Contact Us