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Indian student who faked his father’s death to get full university scholarship is caught after posting on Reddit

An Indian international student has been deported from the US after he was caught faking his entire college application, including his father’s death, to get a full scholarship at a prestigious US university.

Aryan Anand, 19, would have got away with the scam had he not revealed in a Reddit post earlier this year that he had forged high school transcripts and exam results to get accepted into Lehigh University in Pennsylvania with a financial aid package that covered everything but a $5,000 meal plan.

He then created a fake birth certificate saying his father had died of cancer and used that to successfully apply to have his full cost of attendance covered, including tuition, housing, meals and one round-trip flight to India per year.

But Anand was arrested on April 30 and charged with forgery, tampering with record, theft by deception and theft of services, after a Reddit moderator informed Lehigh of the post, which was titled “I have built my life and career on lies”.

Aryan Anand (ABC 6)

An investigation by the Lehigh University Police Department confirmed the post was made by Anand, and that his father was alive in India.

Northampton County Assistant D.A. Michael Weinert told ABC6 that a careless mistake by Anand brought him undone.

“The defendant only had one other university that he followed, which was Lehigh University. So, the moderator actually reached out to Lehigh to give them a heads up,” Weinert said.

“It was difficult to really verify these things. I think that was great work by Lehigh and their police force. They were able to really dig deep and find all this really was false.”

Anand faced up to 20 years in jail, but negotiated a plea deal on June 20 after university officials requested he be punished only by expulsion and deportation, and was placed in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In the Reddit post Anand also revealed that he cheated on his exams after arriving in the US, explaining that he simply took exam papers out of the room when no-one was watching, used the internet to fill in the correct answers, and slipped back in at submission time, obtaining near perfect marks every time.

He further admitted to faking a resume to get a remote part-time internship at a small insurance firm in New York in order to earn about $1,500 a month since he was not allowed to work in the US.

“So, I don’t know what I am doing is wrong or right,” he said.

“It’s basically wrong morally, I know, but I haven’t had a single problem till now, but still, I am scared something very bad would happen in my life very soon if I keep doing these things.”

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