Harvard faker ordered to undergo psych evaluation

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2011 7:52 PM
Harvard faker ordered to undergo psych evaluation

A Delaware man convicted of fraud for faking his way into Harvard was ordered Thursday to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after a Massachusetts judge found he violated his probation by putting the Ivy League school on his resume.

Adam Wheeler was sentenced last year to 2 1/2 years in jail and 10 years' probation on identity fraud and other charges. He served one month in jail while awaiting trial, and the remainder of the sentence was suspended.

Woburn Superior Court Judge Diane Kottmyer on Thursday ordered that Wheeler undergo a 40-day evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital, saying it appears his behavior stems in part from mental illness.

Kottmyer said there is an "element of compulsivity" in Wheeler's behavior. She said a report from doctors would help her decide whether she should send the 25-year-old Wheeler to jail.

Prosecutors have said Wheeler got into Harvard by falsely claiming he attended the exclusive Phillips Academy prep school in Andover and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he obtained about $45,000 in financial aid. They now say Wheeler should serve the rest of his sentence.

Wheeler's attorney, Steven Sussman, has acknowledged his client violated the provision not to represent himself as a Harvard student or graduate, but he said it was a mistake brought on by financial pressure after Wheeler lost a job in July. Wheeler was supporting himself and paying court-ordered restitution to Harvard.

Wheeler sent a resume and letter in September to a Boston-area company, where it was read by a former Harvard student who was aware of his case, prosecutors said.

Wheeler, formerly of Milton, Del., was thrown out of Harvard in 2009 after he sought the university's endorsement for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships and officials discovered he had lied about his record, including claiming to have co-written books, taught courses and given lectures.

He then was accepted at Stanford as a transfer student, but his admission was revoked after his arrest in the Harvard case.