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$6.5M College Bribery Mystery May Have Been Solved

Sources say Chinese parents paid to get daughter into Stanford
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2019 4:04 AM CDT
Updated May 2, 2019 6:51 AM CDT
In this March 12, 2019 photo, William "Rick" Singer founder of the Edge College & Career Network, departs federal court in Boston after pleading guilty to charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery...   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
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(Newser) – It was the big unanswered question in the college admissions bribery scandal—who paid $6.5 million, far more than any other parents, to get their kid into college? Sources tell the Los Angeles Times that the parents in question are those of Yusi Zhao, a Chinese student who was admitted to Stanford University in the spring of 2017. The sources say the parents made the payment to ringleader William Singer after meeting him through a Morgan Stanley financial adviser. They say Singer, whose scheme involved bribing coaches, got Zhao into Stanford through the school's sailing program, though there is no evidence she ever took part in the sport. Former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer has pleaded guilty to racketeering in connection with Singer's scam.

Morgan Stanley adviser Michael Wu was fired in March, NBC reports. The company says he was terminated for "not cooperating with an internal investigation into the college admissions matter." It's not clear how much Zhao and her parents, who have not been charged, knew about the scheme, the Times notes. The Stanford Daily reports that Zhao's father is Tao Zhao, co-founder and CEO of the Shandong Buchang pharmaceutical company. Sources tell the Daily that Zhao was expelled and moved out of her campus residence on March 30 after the university discovered that sailing credentials in her application were falsified. Some 33 parents have been charged in connection with the scandal and prosecutors say they plan to charge more, a move that has made a lot of people edgy in elite circles in Los Angeles, the New York Times reports. (Read more college admissions bribery scandal stories.)

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