The mother of a former Stanford student who paid $6.5 million in the college admissions scandal claimed she thought the money would go towards “scholarships, university salaries and programs for needy students.” The mother of Yusi Zhao—who goes by Molly—told the Los Angeles Times through her attorney that she thought William “Rick” Singer's sham charity was a legitimate organization. “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,” the lawyer said, adding that the payment was made “in the same nature” as other charitable donations wealthy families make to universities. Zhao's mother denied paying for her 2017 admission to Stanford, and claimed through her attorney that Singer never guaranteed Zhao a spot at the school. Zhao was admitted to Stanford as a sailing recruit, although there is no indication she ever participated in the sport. Zhao's mother maintains that their family was “surprised” to learn she had been admitted.
The only other family that paid Singer over $1 million is the family of Sherry Guo—another Chinese student who was admitted to Yale. Guo's attorney said her family paid Singer $1.2 million to help her get into the Ivy League school, and denied the family committed any wrongdoing. The Guo and Zhao families have not been charged by U.S. authorities.