Adam Wheeler, the Harvard student whose lies spiraled into 20 counts of larceny and fraud, pleaded not guilty today. His farcically packed resume (fluent in five languages?) and a friend's testimony portray a "super weird" extreme personality, and shifting lies.
Although he told Harvard he prepped at Andover and transferred in from MIT, Adam Wheeler was actually a 2005 graduate of Caesar Rodney High School in Delaware, a public school, where he scored 1160 and 1220 on his SATs (but told Harvard he's scored a perfect 1600). With false claims about books and other academic accomplishments, he allegedly bilked Harvard out of some $45,000 in scholarships and aid, and went so far as to apply for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships.
But his lies weren't consistent. On a two-page resume submitted to The New Republic for a literary internship—TNR posted Adam's resume online earlier today—he claimed to be under contract on several book projects and to be fluent in French, Old English, classical Armenian, and Old Persian. He claimed to have studied at Georgetown University and Oxford, and to have delivered literary lectures at Harvard and McGill.
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The resume notably leaves out a pre-Harvard collegiate experience that is actually true: Wheeler's enrollment at Maine liberal arts school Bowdoin College from 2005-2007, where he was kicked out for academic dishonesty.
At Bowdoin, Wheeler had a "super weird" reputation and was known to drink heavily and party hard with the ultimate frisbee team. One tipster describes Wheeler's nickname (Fudge), extreme eating habits (banana binges), and how, when he left, he told everyone he was transferring—to the University of Chicago.
His official frisbee name was Fudge (no sexual connotations, he just once dove into a giant mud puddle during a game and was covered head to toe) He also used to eat 8-10 bananas at every meal and won a banana eating contest at school. Hilarious guy, won a bunch of english prizes (now we know how that happened!) and would recite english sonnets and french poetry when he got black out drunk. We were told that he got into an english program at U Chicago and was transferring, had no idea he was kicked out until yesterday.
He never opened up about his aspirations or past, though "we all thought he was super smart because he was winning English prizes left and right." Our tipster says he lost touch with Wheeler after he left Bowdoin. As far as we know, he has no Facebook page, and it's unclear whether he ever did—which may be the genius of his ruse. Unlike Yale scamster Akash Maharaj, whose lies and love affairs were documented on Facebook, Wheeler kept a low profile online, rendering his ever-changing impersonations and lies untraceable—almost. [Crimson, Globe, TNR]