Did a 23-Year-Old Outsmart Harvard?
23-year-old Adam Wheeler is accused of outsmarting the nation's most prestigious university.
Wheeler appeared for his arraignment in a courtroom outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
He pleaded not guilty to conning Harvard University into accepting him by using phony transcripts and pretending to be a brilliant scholar when none of it was true.
Wheeler allegedly concocted a stunning resume claiming he had perfect SAT scores, a perfect record at the prestigious boarding school Phillips Academy in Andover, and straight A's at MIT when he transferred to Harvard in 2007.
One of Wheeler's former classmates told INSIDE EDITION he seemed very intelligent, and she could not believe it was completely fabricated.
Wheeler actually graduated from a public high school in Delaware, had only okay SAT scores, and was kicked out of Bowdoin College in Maine for "academic dishonesty".
So how did he get away with it?
Believe it or not, no one at Harvard checked his credentials until the Fall of 2009, when he applied for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships, claiming once again that he'd gotten straight A's and was the author of books that no one had ever heard of.
Wheeler's shell-shocked parents sat in the courtroom during the proceedings. Prosecutors say his parents finally put a stop to his charade when they found out what he was doing.
Outside court, Wheeler's attorney Steven Sussman spoke to reporters. "They are just allegations [and] until we go to court and hear it out, I think he is presumed innocent," he said.
INSIDE EDITION asked criminal profiler Pat Brown, author of the new book The Profiler, why Wheeler might have come up with such an elaborate hoax.
"We're looking at a personality disorder but apparently he has probably gotten away with for a long time; [he had] a lot of practice in his earlier and he just took that on to the higher levels of education," said Brown.
Wheeler was caught when a professor going through his records discovered the falsifications.