Indian Student Deported After Faking Father's Death for Scholarship; Here's How Reddit Post Exposes Dishonest Deed


When a 19-year-old Indian student, Aryan Anand, put up an entirely fabricated application to gain a full scholarship at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, a lid was blown off the academic community.

The tale of forged transcripts and financial statements, complete with even a death certificate, has brought to the fore the extraordinary extent to which students can sometimes go merely to achieve the most esteemed dream-studying abroad. His scheme unraveled following a Reddit confession, and the posting landed him in jail, where he is facing expulsion and eventual deportation.

Indian Student Deported After Faking Father's Death for Scholarship

(Photo : WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / Matt Casey)

A Web of Lies

What has sent ripples through the academic world is the story of Aryan Anand, a 19-year-old student from India who fabricated his entire application and attracted a full scholarship at Pennsylvania's Lehigh University. According to Lehigh Valley News, Anand meticulously crafted his deception by forging transcripts and financial statements, even going so far as to create a fake death certificate for his father. However, his plan fell apart after he confessed on Reddit in a post titled "I have built my life and career on lies."

Defrauded documents for admission and aid in the form of financial aid were described by Anand in the Reddit post, stating that desperation to study in the United States got the better of him. "I haven't told anyone how I got to the point where I am right now. It would destroy everything I have," he wrote before detailing the multistep process he used to con the system. Anand's brazenness didn't stop with simply forging documents for his application; the student went on to create a fake email address, which he would use to pose as his school principal, adding another layer of deceit to his fraudulent application.

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The Reddit Confession That Unraveled It All

It all began with Anand's own admission. Although he did not mention his name and the name of the university, a vigilant moderator on Reddit came across the post and became suspicious. The moderator conducted some research and discovered that Anand was a student at Lehigh University. "The defendant only followed one other university, which was Lehigh University. So, the moderator actually reached out to Lehigh to give them a heads-up," explained Northampton County Assistant District Attorney Michael Weinert.

The moderator then contacted the university, providing them with all of the evidence that had been gathered. From there, an investigation began which ultimately led to Anand being taken into custody on April 30. Anand was picked up on several counts of forgery and theft of services which were severe offenses in their own right. He pleaded guilty to forgery charges on June 12, 2024. While the severity of his offenses called for a 10- to 20-year prison sentence, a plea agreement with the college called for slightly lighter punishment: his admission to Lehigh was revoked, and he faced expulsion and deportation back to India.

The Fallout and Ethical Implications

Right after the moderator's report, Lehigh University did not waste any time. It released a statement thanking the report to its ethics hotline, and the institution praised the excellent investigation done by the Lehigh University Police Department. The university reaffirmed its commitment to integrity and ethical practices in its admissions process. "We take these matters very seriously and are grateful for the vigilance of our community members who help us uphold our values," a statement read.

Anand's case illustrates that what students may do to seek learning opportunities is not trivial and raises significant ethical questions. It also underlines that careful vigilance combined with community involvement is a critical tool in maintaining academic integrity. However, if certainly wrong, the actions taken by Anand also illustrate that there is tremendous pressure and challenge for students who wish to pursue further studies abroad, much more so from particularly disadvantaged backgrounds.

The consequences of Anand's lying extend beyond his personal consequences. This case would again enlighten institutions worldwide of the need for educational establishments to implement firm mechanisms of verification so that they do not fall prey to fraud. It raises a bigger question regarding the pressure on students and the kind of ethical boundaries they may be compelled to overstep in fulfilling their dreams.

The case of Aryan Anand is a lesson for all about the viciousness of dishonesty and the value of integrity within the halls of learning. His actions drew upon him serious personal punishments in terms of expulsion and deportation but at the same time, constituted an opener for the eyes of the institutions of learning and their students to become honest and ethical while pursuing their academic and professional aspirations.

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