Fake Harvard student pleads guilty

The 24-year-old Milton man who spent the last three years pretending he attended Harvard has pleaded guilty to charges connected with his deceit.

Adam Wheeler will now have to pay nearly $46,000 in connection with his guilty plea for larceny, identity fraud, and 20 other charges.  The money will be used to repay scholarships, financial aid, and other academic awards he fraudulently received from the Ivy league school.

Wheeler appeared in a suburban Boston court room where Middlesex County Associate Justice Diane M. Kottmyer sentenced Wheeler to 10 years probation.

The Harvard Crimson reports: “Assistant District Attorney John Verner said during Thursday’s hearing that Wheeler’s dishonesty not only took money from Harvard’s coffers but harmed unknown students who might have earned the spot at Harvard and the other accolades that Wheeler fraudulently acquired.

“The bigger problem is that what Mr. Wheeler did is he took opportunities from the number two person,” Verner said. “That person doesn’t get to say he or she went to Harvard, doesn’t have a Harvard diploma.”

“Once he got into Harvard, that apparently wasn’t enough for Mr. Wheeler,” Verner added. “Instead of going to Harvard and just simply graduating, he forged documents and plagiarized documents” to compete for several prestigious prizes.

“He wrote himself letters of recommendation from good, hardworking professors,” Verner said. “He used their names and their reputations for his own personal gain, to get himself into Harvard.” ‘

Wheeler’s attorney asked for a lesser than 10 year sentence.  Verner argued that Wheeler’s history had been built on lies. He said his resume was fabricated.  The school paper’s web site thecrimson.com has shown where Wheeler made up stories as he went through Harvard.

Wheeler was also ordered to have no contact with Harvard and could not say he attended the school. Wheeler did attend Bowdoin College in Maine, but was suspended in 2005 for academic dishonesty.

Wheeler spoke in a soft voice at his hearing. “I want to do what I can to undo this wrong,” he said. “I am ashamed of what I’ve done.”

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