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Harvard partly to blame for admitting con-artist

University takes steps to guard against fraud


 

It appears Harvard University bears some of the blame for admitting former student Adam Wheeler, who had falsified several documents when applying to the prestigious school. Wheeler pleaded guilty earlier this month to charges of fraud and larceny and was sentenced to 10 years probation and ordered to pay $45,800 in restitution.

While he has been portrayed as a master con-artist, Wheeler’s application to Harvard, obtained  by the Boston Globe “reveals neither a meticulous feat of deceit nor a particularly elaborate charade. At times, he was just plain careless.”

Among the discrepancies in his Harvard application was Wheeler’s claim that he had scored a five on 16 advanced placement (AP) exams, despite the fact students typically only take one or two AP courses during their high school tenure. He claimed to have taken two of the exams in 2002, despite not even being in high school at the time. He also provided freshmen grades from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, despite the fact MIT does not issue letter grades for first year students. “Not to take responsibility from what he did, but Harvard has to own up to what it did by letting him in,’’ Wheeler’s lawyer told the Globe.

A Harvard spokesman says it is “taking measures to bolster” the school’s ability to “protect against fraud.”


 
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