The family of a Chinese student paid $6.5 million to a consultant to ensure her admission to Stanford University in California in 2017, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The family of Yusi "Molly" Zhao, who was admitted to Stanford's sailing program in 2017, paid to get their daughter into the highly selective school, the paper reported. It also was reported that the family of another student, Sherry Guo, paid $1.2 million to the consultant to assist in her entry to Yale University in Connecticut.
William "Rick" Singer of Newport Beach, Calif., has pleaded guilty of orchestrating a multilevel, years-long scam and is named as a cooperating witness in the admissions scandal the U.S. Department of Justice has nicknamed "Operation Varsity Blues."
Zhao's family, who live in Beijing, met Singer through a financial adviser at the Morgan Stanley investment bank, the Times wrote.
When the case broke in mid-March, DOJ documents did not identify which family paid $6.5 million to Singer to arrange their child's admission. Most of the 33 parents involved are accused of paying tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars for various services, such as having standardized tests taken for the student or having the test graded to show exemplary scores. Other families paid to have Singer and his associates market the students as star athletes even though they had not previously participated in a sport.
Guo's family was introduced to Singer by a Los Angeles financial adviser, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Wealthy and well-connected parents on the list of those indicted for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud include the owner of a California vineyard and the former owner of a California media company that was sold for $325 million a year ago. Some own corporations and firms, and deal in private equity and real estate development.
Several executives, entrepreneurs, investors and CEOs were among the 50 who were charged. Parents charged in the scandal listed addresses on New York City's Fifth Avenue and at Rockefeller Center, California's Beverly Hills, Greenwich, Conn., and Hyannis Port, Mass., where the Kennedy political dynasty owns an oceanfront summer compound.
Of 33 parents charged, 14 have pleaded guilty. Others have asked prosecutors for discovery evidence before entering pleas.
It is not clear whether the Chinese families are subject to the same charges. Guo's attorney denied wrongdoing in the case, saying the family has not been charged, the Journal reported.
Also not clear is whether Zhao or Guo remained active students at Stanford and Yale, respectively, but those universities have rescinded the admission of students believed to be involved in the scandal, without releasing names.
Singer reportedly earned more than $25 million by connecting parents and their children with test administrators and college coaches who took their cut for endorsing bogus applicants, the Justice Department said.