WOBURN, Mass. (AP) Adam Wheeler, a "Harvard man" who prosecutors say is really an impostor, has pleaded not guilty to charges he fabricated a perfect record of academic achievement to get into the Ivy League school.
At his arraignment Tuesday, the 23-year-old Wheeler, who did manage to spend two years at Harvard, was ordered held on $5,000 bail on 20 counts of larceny, identity fraud and other charges.
If he makes bail, he must stay away from Harvard and the other academic institutions involved in his alleged scheme, surrender his passport and remain in Massachusetts, a Middlesex Superior Court judge said.
Wheeler, who's from Delaware, was kicked out of the elite college when he tried to get the school's endorsement for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships, and a professor reviewing his applications found evidence he had plagiarized from another professor, prosecutors say.
Wheeler's parents gave him up to a Yale University official who called to ask about their son's transfer application.
Wheeler had claimed he got a perfect score on the SAT, straight A's at prestigious prep school Phillips Academy Andover and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on his application to Harvard in 2007, prosecutors said. In reality, he had never attended either school, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said.
Prosecutor John Verner said in court Tuesday that Wheeler essentially stole $45,000 in financial aid, scholarship money and academic awards from Harvard.
"This defendant's actions cheated those who competed honestly and fairly for admissions and for the scholarships that this defendant fraudulently obtained," said D.A. Leone.
Wheeler an English major who would have graduated from Harvard this spring, tried to transfer to Yale and Brown after he got caught at Harvard, Leone said, again by falsifying his achievements and recommendations.
Wheeler was a student at Bowdoin College in Maine from 2005-07, but was suspended for academic dishonesty, authorities said.
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