I believe that College Board validates their exams and calibrates their grading scale by giving the tests to college students taking the course and comparing with their actual grades. I don't doubt that the all of the AP courses are equivalent to college courses at some set of colleges, but maybe not the very top ones.
My S was a National AP Scholar after junior year (which was never a goal, just a happy outcome from signing up for the courses he was interested in) but I really doubt that this one line on his application form had much, if any, impact on his college outcomes. Would a college really find a National AP Scholar all that much more desirable than a similar student with 7 APs who just missed the cutoff.
If there is a "lie", it might be in giving students the impression that these awards, in themselves, mean anything.