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Two Arrested Over Harvard Admissions Conspiracy

SUSPECTS: Peter Brand and Jie Zhao

CHARGES: Conspiracy to commit admission fraud

DATE OF ARREST: November 16

THE DETAILS: On Monday, authorities took two suspects into custody for a conspiracy to commit admission fraud. According to the police, the two suspects, a former fencing coach at Harvard and a Maryland businessman, worked together to attempt to circumvent the admission process at Harvard. Zhao reportedly attempted to pay over $1.5 million in bribes to Brand in an attempt to ensure his two sons were admitted to the university. The police say Brand accepted the money and was reportedly planning on recruiting the two boys onto the school’s fencing team. In 2013, the plan went through. Zhao’s oldest son was accepted into Harvard as a fencing recruit. Around the same time, Zhao started making payments on Brand’s car. In 2017, Zhao’s younger son was accepted into Harvard, too. Once authorities realized what was going on, an investigation was opened. Now, both men have been arrested and charged.

 

Florida Man Arrested With a Power Pole Strapped to Car Roof

SUSPECT: Douglas Hatley

CHARGES: Third-degree grand theft

DATE OF ARREST: November 16

THE DETAILS: Police in Tampa, Florida, were shocked to see a man with a huge power pole strapped to the top of his car. The vehicle was traveling along North 50th Street near State Road 60 when authorities spotted him. He was immediately pulled over and questioned about the pole. What the suspect didn’t know was that the officer who pulled him over already knew where the pole came from. A highway maintenance worker had reported that a downed pole had been stolen earlier in the day, so they confronted the suspect. Hatley admitted to finding the power pole along Interstate 4. When he discovered it, he attempted to sell it for scrap. The recycling company he tried to bring it to, though, wouldn’t accept the pole. They cited a lack of proper documentation as their reason. Due to the situation, the suspect was arrested. Both the power pole and the car were taken into police custody, too.

 

California Man Evaded FBI With Underwater “Sea Scooter”

SUSPECT: Matthew Piercey

CHARGES: Over 31 felonies -- wire fraud, witness tampering, money laundering, mail fraud

DATE OF ARREST: November 16

THE DETAILS: Investigators uncovered a $35 million investment scheme that was being pulled off by Matthew Piercey and his business partner, Kenneth Winton. Investigators say the duo spent over five years soliciting money from investors for an “upvesting fund.” The alleged fund in question never existed, and instead, the two used all the money they received ($35 million) on themselves. Police say they used almost $8.8 million to pay off personal credit card debt, buy two properties, and purchase a houseboat. As authorities closed in on the suspect on Monday, he reportedly led them on a car chase through residential California neighborhoods. When Piercey approached Lake Shasta, he abandoned his car, pulled out an underwater “sea scooter,” and jumped into the water. FBI agents struggled to locate the suspect for nearly 30 minutes as he sped through the water on the motorized device. The suspect failed to account for the water’s frigid temperature, though. In the end, Piercey and his business partner were both arrested. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

 

Swatting Prank Leads to Arrest of 12-Year-Old in California

SUSPECT: Unidentified 12-year-old Minor

CHARGES: Illegal use of emergency services, falsely reporting a crime

DATE OF ARREST: November 17

THE DETAILS: When you were younger, did you ever make any prank calls? One unidentified youngster in California has been officially arrested and charged after making a prank call to the authorities. According to the police, the boy reached out to 911 to report a murder. The boy claimed to have witnessed his mother shoot his father. He also reported that his mother was hiding in the bathroom with her weapon. Police took the threat seriously and dispatched a SWAT team to the household. The child said he would meet the cops outside, but the line went dead once police arrived at the home. Eventually, the authorities made contact with the residence of the home they were dispatched to. They quickly discovered that no crime had been committed, and the occupants of the home were completely in the dark. Later on that night, police determined that a 12-year-old had pulled off the swatting prank. In response, they tracked him down and officially arrested him.

 

Alabama Man Calls Authorities on Himself to Confess to 1995 Murder

SUSPECT: Johnny Dwight Whited

CHARGES: Murder

DATE OF ARREST: November 19

THE DETAILS: Has your conscious ever convinced you to admit to a past wrongdoing? Johnny Whited evaded authorities for years, but he finally decided to call the police to snitch on himself after all these years. Authorities say they received the call from the suspect who claimed he needed to confess. The suspect brought up the 1995 murder of Christopher Dailey and began discussing details that matched up with the evidence police discovered. Authorities say the suspect has a spotty history and has clearly struggled with a drug addiction. At the time of his confession, he was already awaiting trial for an unrelated methamphetamine charge. Throughout the years, he’s also been arrested for possessing crack. Police say that it’s very likely the confession is valid because Whited re-enacted the crime in front of officers and brought them to the crime scene. The details he provided led police to charge him with the 1995 murder.