- Yusi Zhao shared a video in 2017 in which she said she got into Stanford University through her “own hard work,” according to a translation from The New York Times.
- Last week, Zhao’s family was identified as the college-admissions scandal’s largest client.
- Sources familiar with the case told the Los Angeles Times that Zhao’s family paid $6.5 million to ensure her admission to Stanford.
- Her family said through a lawyer last week that Zhao was a “victim” and the $6.5 million was thought to be a donation to the school.
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The woman whose parents reportedly paid $6.5 million in the college-admissions scandal said in 2017 that she got into Stanford University because of “hard work,” not because of her rich parents.
In a video translated by The New York Times, Yusi Zhao said, “I tested into Stanford through my own hard work.”
“Some people think, ‘Didn’t you get into Stanford because your family is rich?'” Zhao, who also goes by Molly, said in the video, adding that admissions officers “have no idea who you are.”
Sources familiar with the case told the Los Angeles Times last week that Zhao’s family was the scandal’s biggest client.
The sources said that Zhao’s family members, who live in Beijing, were introduced to the scheme’s ringleader, William “Rick” Singer, through a Morgan Stanley financial adviser.
Zhao’s father is Tao Zhao, the chairman and cofounder of Shandong Buchang, a multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical company in China, The Stanford Daily reported.
To ensure Zhao’s admission to the school, her family paid Singer to have her recruited as part of Stanford’s sailing team even though she didn’t sail, sources told the Los Angeles Times.
A month after Zhao was admitted to Stanford, her family donated $6.5 million to Singer’s charity, which prosecutors say was a front for the admissions scheme.
Zhao’s mother last week told the Los Angeles Times through the family’s lawyer, William Law, that they were tricked into believing the $6.5 million they paid Singer was a donation to Stanford, made “in the same nature” as those that wealthy families are known to make to universities.
“Mrs. Zhao has come to realize she has been misled, her generosity has been taken advantage of and her daughter has fallen victim to the scam,” Law said, adding that she was “shocked and deeply disturbed.”
No one in Zhao’s family has been charged as part of the scandal. Prosecutors told INSIDER last week that the investigation is ongoing and that more people could be charged.
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