Adam Wheeler: Mental health test for Harvard faker

Adam Wheeler is led into the courtroom before Judge Diane Kottmyer on Thursday on 
charges he violated his probation by sending a résumé stating he was a Harvard graduate.

Adam Wheeler really wants to be a Harvard graduate.

The Delaware man who pleaded guilty last year to faking his way into Harvard University was found to have violated his probation when he sent a résumé to a Somerville company and claimed he had been a Harvard student.

“It appears … that Mr. Wheeler suffers from a mental illness,” Judge Diane Kottymer said Thursday during Wheeler’s court hearing.

She ordered that he be held at a mental health facility in Bridgewater until Dec. 23 and undergo an evaluation. He will be sentenced after the evaluation.

Wheeler’s lawyer, Steven Sussman, said his client applied for an unpaid internship at U.S. Green Data this fall. Prosecutors said that Wheeler wrote on the résumé that he attended Harvard and won a Rockefeller grant. An official at the company was a Harvard graduate and was familiar with Wheeler’s case. That’s when the authorities were notified of the fraudulent résumé.

When he pleaded guilty last year, Kottmyer sentenced Wheeler to two and a half years in jail with that sentence suspended after 30 days in prison. He was also ordered to pay Harvard more than $45,000 in restitution and to not represent himself as being affiliated with Harvard.

Sussman said that Wheeler, who was out of work at the time he submitted his résumé, suffered from financial pressure. He also said the position Wheeler applied for was an unpaid internship.

Wheeler’s parents attended the hearing, but said they hadn’t spoken to him in a week.

How he got here

Wheeler was able to transfer into Harvard by falsifying his transcripts, recommendations and SAT scores, which he claimed were a perfect 1600. He falsely claimed he graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover and also used plagiarized material to win a pair of writing contests. He was caught when he applied for the Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships.


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