Harvard Hoax: Adam Wheeler's Trail Of Deception Led Back To His Parents

05/19/2010 05:11 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Fake Harvard student Adam Wheeler's large-scale hoax might have continued were it not for action taken by his parents, the New York Times reports.

Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney John Verner said that a phone call to Lee and Richard Wheeler from Yale University earlier this year spurred the younger Wheeler to expose the truth about his situation.

Yale contacted the Wheelers to inquire about the legitimacy of their son's transfer application to the school.

The Times has more on how Wheeler was almost caught ealier:

Mr. Wheeler had come close to being caught at Harvard after his admission interview with a Harvard alumnus. It took place in 2007 at Bowdoin, which, Mr. Verner said, was a red flag to the alumni interviewer, who had been told he was meeting a student from M.I.T.

But, as was apparently so often the case with Mr. Wheeler, he had a ready answer for the alumnus, who was not identified.

Mr. Wheeler said he had finished his M.I.T. coursework early, telling the alumnus, "Instead of wasting time I decided to come to Bowdoin to help a professor work on a book," according to Mr. Verner.

The Times also looked into how Wheeler could have slipped through the cracks of so many institutions. A former college admissions officer told the paper that the reason is simple: "It is not in [their] inherent nature in [their] industry to be suspicious."

More reports from Harvard and beyond are painting a portrait of the young Delaware man now known as the Harvard grifter. One woman who went to high school with Wheeler told the Boston Herald that he "was always the prankster and jokester. He goofed around." The Harvard Crimson has compiled a docket of reactions from current students as recorded by mainstream media outlets.

What's your reaction?

WATCH: A CBS News report on the case.