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Plagiarism, Lies & Jail

Committing plagiarism isn’t often a one time offense that simply goes away.  Like many other infractions and crimes, a bad case of plagiarism is something that can re-emerge and cause havoc for an individual or business throughout their lifetime.

Case in point: Adam Wheeler.  The 25 year old is now infamous for faking his way into Harvard through fraud and plagiarism.  He ended up getting caught and sentenced to 2.5 years in jail and 10 years of probation, although he only ended up serving one month in jail. However, Wheeler recently broke the terms of his probation by using Harvard on his resume when applying to a job.  The repercussion for this will most likely be Wheeler having to serve the remainder of his sentence in jail.

Many are questioning Wheeler’s judgment and overall ‘moral compass’:  why in the world would he risk breaking his probation with such an obvious and public lie?

Despite the seemingly risky act, there is a chance Wheeler may have ‘accidentally’ left the false information on his resume. Either way, he’s guilty of breaking probation.  This just goes to show that an act of plagiarism or fraud can follow someone beyond the initial fallout – it’s not something that is easily forgotten by the world (or legal system).

The names on this ‘plagiarism blacklist’ go on and on – even if they weren’t formally charged with a crime, the long term ‘brand’ damage that comes with an incident can often be irreparable.  Stephen Glass, who was infamous for his plagiarism scandal at The New Republic, is another prime example.  After the initial scandal fallout, Glass tried to move on with his life and enter the field of law.  He did successfully get his law degree from Georgetown; however, Glass also applied to the California bar association and was denied due to ‘his history of ethical problems.’  These problems will likely follow Glass around for the entirety of his life (probably also due to the popularized movie ‘Shattered Glass’ that portrayed his story).

These aren’t just stories that have happened to other people; they are lessons to be learned. Plagiarism is a huge risk that isn’t about one confined incident – it can be a permanent mark on a person’s reputation that prevents future opportunities throughout their life.

Citations

Crimesider Staff.  “Harvard wannabe tries again, lies again, puts school on resume.”  CBS News.  November 11th, 2011.  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57322651-504083/harvard-wannabe-tries-again-lies-again-puts-school-on-resume/

Wikipedia. October 7th 2011.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Glass_(reporter)

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Published on by davidr.