Thursday, May 20, 2010

College admissions fraud, at Harvard

The Globe weighs in: Trust-based admissions process leaves elite colleges open to fraud
"The former Harvard College senior accused of duping one of the world’s most selective universities seems to have exploited an application system at elite colleges that is largely based on trust and where admissions officers verify credentials only when they suspect that something is awry.
As questions mount about how 23-year-old Adam B. Wheeler could have pulled off such a sophisticated charade — doctoring transcripts and College Board scores and submitting fake letters of recommendation on official-looking letterhead — neither Harvard admissions officials nor a university spokesman would discuss its admissions process.
Nor would they say whether policies will change as a result of the alleged scam by Wheeler, who pleaded not guilty in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn yesterday to 20 counts of larceny, identity fraud, and other charges and was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail.
Admissions officials at other colleges said the sheer volume of applicants makes it impractical to independently verify every document submitted unless they discover inconsistencies."

The Crimson takes up the story, with an account of how the fraud(s) came to light: Former Harvard Student Indicted For Falsified Applications, Identity Fraud
"A former Harvard student was indicted Monday for falsifying information in his applications to Harvard and for several scholarships.
Adam Wheeler, 23, was indicted on 20 counts of larceny, identity fraud, falsifying an endorsement or approval, and pretending to hold a degree. Wheeler was allegedly "untruthful" in his applications to the University and in scholarship applications, according to a statement released Monday by Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.
As a senior in September 2009, Wheeler allegedly submitted fraudulent applications for the Harvard endorsement for both the United States Rhodes Scholarship and the Fulbright Scholarship.
His application packet included fabricated recommendations from Harvard professors and a college transcript detailing perfect grades over three years. Wheeler's resume listed numerous books he had co-authored, lectures he had given, and courses he had taught, according to authorities.
Wheeler's transgressions came to light when a Harvard professor noticed similarities between Wheeler's work and that of another professor during the application review process for the Rhodes Scholarship. The professor then compared the two pieces and voiced concerns that Wheeler plagiarized nearly the entire piece.
Wheeler’s file was referred to University officials, who decided—upon discovering the falsified transcript—to open a full review of Wheeler’s academic file


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He probably just wanted to insure that he could get the best education free with scholarships. The problem is that when he gets away with one forgery he would not stop and push his luck even further and bigger prizes. He would have never appreciated the hard work. I am glad his done.

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