The sale of a Massachusetts home owned by Harvard University’s fencing coach to the parent of a prospective student has reportedly sparked a federal investigation overseen by one of the prosecutors handling the “Varsity Blues” college-admissions scandal. The Boston Globe reports Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen subpoenaed Needham, Massachusetts, officials in April, just days after the Globe first reported that Coach Peter Brand sold his home for hundreds of thousands of dollars above its value to the parent of a prospective Harvard student. The subpoena requests years of housing records regarding the property’s value, according to the report. The property had an assessed value at $549,300, but was reportedly sold to buyer Jie Zhao in May 2016 for $989,500. A short time later, one of Zhao’s sons was admitted to Harvard, and another, who was also a member of the fencing team, graduated in 2018. Zhao claims no one ever lived in the house, and that he sold the property in October 2017 at loss of more than $300,000. Lawyers for both Zhao and Brand told the Globe they were unaware of any federal investigation into the sale, and they have both denied any wrongdoing.
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