Former Harvard Professor Convicted of Defrauding Couple

The Harvard University campus in Cambridge, where Zimny claimed to work as a professor.
The Harvard University campus in Cambridge, where Zimny claimed to work as a professor. –Lisa Poole/AP

Mark Zimny told Gerald and Lily Chow that he was a Harvard professor with connections who could get their sons into top New England prep schools and Ivy League colleges.

It wasn’t true, according to The Boston Globe. Zimny had once worked as a visiting assistant professor, but that had ended before his interactions with the Chows. The Globe reports that federal prosecutors said he spent the money from the Chows on himself instead.

Zimny was convicted of five counts of wire fraud, five counts of unlawful money laundering, two counts of filing false federal tax returns, and one count of bank fraud. He was acquitted on a second count of bank fraud.


Zimny’s attorney, Albert S. Watkins, told that a “troubling’’ issue has arisen with the jury, however: In an anonymous blog comment, an individual claiming to be a juror indicated that members of the jury had already discussed their views on the case while it was pending.

On April 7, responding to a 2012 post on a personal blog, an anonymous commenter asked, “How’s it looking for Zimny?’’

The juror in question allegedly replied, “When I left the jury last week due to an illness they were 50/50.’’

Watkins said lawyers are in the process of preparing a “bifurcated motion,’’ seeking to question the juror that made the comments, as well as the other members of the jury, to see if they did discuss the case before it was permitted.

Watkins will also ask for a mistrial.

“We’re all interested in one thing, and that is that justice is done,’’ he said.

For now, Zimny is set to be sentenced July 9. He is also the subject of a a civil suit, which is set to go to trial in June.

Click here to read the full Globe report.

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