Harvard impostor | Guilty of larceny and identity fraud


Getting into Harvard is tough, but Adam Wheeler lied his way in. Image: Flickr / California Cthulu / CC-BY

Adam B. Wheeler is a former Harvard student, but he is now better known as the “Harvard impostor.” Adam B. Wheeler entered a guilty plea on Thursday to a variety of charges. The Harvard impostor, guilty of his crimes, has been sentenced to 10 years probation and paying $45,806 in restitution.

Harvard impostor guilty of a very big lie

In general, 24-year old Adam Wheeler has pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes stemming from lying his way into and around Harvard University. In 2007, Adam Wheeler started at Harvard University after falsifying records from Bowdoin College and MIT. Wheeler also falsified letters of recommendation, SAT scores and essays. While at Harvard University, Wheeler falsified and plagiarized essays, research proposals and accolades on his resume. While at Harvard, Wheeler used this falsified information to get several scholarships and research grants.

Harvard student sentenced 10 years probation

In 2009, Adam Wheeler was kicked out of Harvard after his falsifications were discovered. Between the time he was kicked out of Harvard and arrested, Adam Wheeler applied for and was accepted to Stanford, though the school eventually rescinded that acceptance. When the Harvard impostor pleaded guilty, the judge sentenced him more harshly than the lawyers had requested. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, which he had already served. He will spend 10 years on probation, and must repay the full $45,806 that Harvard provided him while he was at school there. The judge cited the fact that Wheeler had continued his deception after getting caught as indication of his “element of compulsion.” Wheeler is also “prohibited from profiting from the facts and circumstances of this case,” which means he can’t make a book or movie about his story.

Is the Harvard impostor’s punishment too much?

The Harvard impostor guilty plea made prosecutors happy, but it has left many questions about his punishment. Lawyers for Wheeler questioned the $45,806 figure, stating that most of that money was just money shuffled from one Harvard account to the next. Others say the number is far too low because Wheeler’s position at Harvard and scholarships could have gone to students who were more deserving. A few educational commentators point out that while Wheeler is being called the Harvard impostor, the number of students at Ivy League institutions on “padded” resumes is much higher than most realize.


The Crimson

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