A former Delaware State University official has pleaded guilty to bribery charges after changing the status of hundreds of out-of-state students to in-state students, making them eligible to pay reduced tuition prices.
David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced on Tuesday that Crystal Martin, former Associate Registrar acknowledged her role in defrauding the school.
Court documents show that between 2013 and 2017, Martin, along with an unnamed con-conspirator, used forged residency documents to make out-of-state students eligible for in-state tuition prices. She collected over 70,000 in bribe payments, costing the university over $3 million over a period of four years.
“The defendant abused her position at a public university to personally profit and to defraud her employer,” Weiss said. “State universities have the right to offer benefits to in-state students in the form of reduced tuition; they also have the right to expect their employees to uphold and support their mission. And Delaware taxpayers have the right to expect honest services from our public employees – when those employees fall short of these expectations my office will hold them accountable.”
Alumni and students have expressed shock and anger over the scheme, which comes weeks after the biggest college bribery scandal which included famous Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman, Lori Laughlin, and prominent Silicon Valley investor Bill McGlashan
“It’s crazy because there’s a lot of students that actually had to pay hard-working money for this school, and you have a person that’s just taking money and switching their addresses, it’s pretty unfair,” Christopher Chaplain, a student at Delaware State University, told CBS Philly.
According to a university spokesperson, Martin was terminated in March 2017. They declined to comment on the pending litigation.
“We are aware of the guilty plea of Crystal Martin, a former Delaware State University employee, and have been working in close cooperation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” the spokesperson told NBC News. “Given the ongoing criminal proceedings, the University cannot comment at this time.”
Martin’s sentencing is scheduled for July 1, 2019. She faces a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.