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Adam Wheeler: Student Fakes Way to Harvard College Acceptance

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By Jason Beahm on May 18, 2010 1:36 PM

Frank Abagnale, Jr. began his famous autobiography, Catch Me If You Can, by saying that "a man's alter ego is nothing more than his favorite image of himself." One can only wonder if Adam Wheeler was thinking the same thing when he allegedly created an elaborate scam that included faking his way into a Harvard College acceptance.  

Wheeler, 23, is accused of forging and fabricating documents as well as receiving over $45,000 from Harvard in grants and financial aid. Wheeler has pled not guilty to 20 charges relating to the alleged scam. While elaborate scams such as the one Wheeler is accused of make for amusing news, the possible repercussions are no joke. Wheeler faces up to five years for each felony and one year for each misdemeanor.

Wheeler allegedly used a number of forgeries in order to pull off the scam including: faking a perfect SAT score, plagiarizing essays, forging letters of recommendations from professors and employers and submitting false transcripts. He is also accused of lying about attending several schools, including Phillips Academy and MIT.

His attorney sought to put the alleged crimes in a different light when he spoke to a crowd of reporters on Monday and defended his client. 

Mr. Wheeler pled not guilty. He'll have his day in court, said attorney Steven Sussman. He's not convicted of anything....He's a kid....He's never been in trouble before.

Wheeler's bail was set at $5,000. If he posts bail, he will have to surrender his passport and will be prohibited from leaving Massachusetts until June 9, when he appears for his court appearance.

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