Student Caught Making Fake IDs

Authorities say no evidence yet of fraudulent purchases made with Crimson Cash

A Harvard undergraduate was caught producing fake state driver’s licenses and Harvard identification cards, including some that would have granted access to campus buildings and Crimson Cash accounts, University officials said Monday.

Theodore R. Pak ’09 is currently under investigation in connection with the false documents and is away from school, according to a student who is close to Pak.

Pak was “stopped and questioned” by University police on Nov. 19 concerning the counterfeit Harvard IDs, according to an incident report filed by the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD). The Middlesex district attorney’s office is investigating the matter with the help of HUPD.

A statement released by the University on Monday said there is no evidence yet to indicate that the ID cards were used to make fraudulent purchases or gain access to any personal information, such as credit card or Social Security numbers.

However, Harvard officials notified all Crimson Cash account holders on Monday afternoon of the breach and suggested that they review their accounts for suspicious activities. Crimson Cash is a service that allows Harvard affiliates to deposit money onto their IDs and use them to buy food, textbooks, and other items.

It is unclear whether the fake IDs were used to gain access to campus buildings.

“We do not believe that this incident has created a safety risk for the community,” the statement said, adding that the University has already taken “security-enhancing steps” and planning to take more measures to protect IDs in the near future.

While Harvard officials declined to name the student, the statement said the student was no longer on Harvard’s campus and that there have not been similar suspicious acts since the identification of the suspect.

Repeated calls to Pak’s home in Miller Place, N.Y. went unanswered, and spokesmen for the University, HUPD, and the Middlesex District Attorney declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation.

John “Jay” L. Ellison, secretary of the Administrative Board, the College’s chief disciplinary body, would not comment on Pak’s status at the College. Pak is no longer listed in the Harvard phonebook directory or the official College facebook.

At Harvard, Pak was the technology manager for the Harvard Glee Club and conducted research at the systems biology lab of Kevin J. Verstrepen, a lecturer on molecular and cellular biology.

He also served as the business manager of the Harvard Computer Society (HCS).

As business manager, Pak maintained the HCS Web site and led a seminar for students in Computer Science 50, “Introduction to Computer Science I” students about using Linux, according to HCS President Grant W. Dasher ’09.

—Staff writer Kevin C. Leu can be reached at kleu@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Anna L. Tong can be reached at tong@fas.harvard.edu.