Former Harvard student Adam Wheeler, 23, pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to get into the Ivy League institution. Prosecutors claimed Tuesday in a Massachusetts court that those say those lies ultimately allowed him to steal $45,000 in grants, scholarship money, and financial aid.
John Verner, prosecutor, said in court Tuesday, "Since Mr. Wheeler began at Harvard, he has lived a life of lies and deceit."
Even after being caught and kicked out of Harvard, Wheeler actually tried to transfer to Brown University and Yale. His parents, who attended the hearing, forced their son to come clean, and notify Yale that he had been booted from Harvard.
Verner said, "If it wasn't for his parents' intervention, Mr. Wheeler's pathological behavior wouldn't have stopped."
Wheeler's behavior allegedly started on his Harvard application. Wheeler claimed he got a perfect 1,600 on his SAT, had attended the exclusive Phillips Academy prep school, and spent a year at MIT. CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reported prosecutors say all claims are false.
Quijano added Wheeler recently applied for an internship at The New Republic magazine, claiming a 4.0 grade point average while at Harvard.
The New Republic is where rising star writer Stephen Glass was exposed for making things up in his articles.
Stephen Glass: I Lied For Esteem
But Steven Sussman, Wheeler's defense attorney, told reporters, "They are just allegations. Until we go to court and hear them out. He is presumed innocent."
Now, Wheeler is now facing 20 counts, including larceny, falsifying an endorsement, identity fraud, and pretending to hold a degree. Quijano added the four larceny charges are felony counts that each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
His next court appearance is on June 9.
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