June 22, 2024

Former Delaware State University employee pleads guilty to swindling millions in tuition bribes

Delaware State
Crystal Martin, former associate registrar at Delaware State University, took more than $70,000 in bribes by helping out-of-state students get in-state tuition. (Photo:Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture)

A former Delaware State University employee says she is guilty of taking more than $70,000 in bribes over four years to help out-of-state students reduce their tuition bill by falsely identifying them as in-state students.

Crystal Martin, who worked as an associate registrar at Delaware State, has pled guilty to bribery after swindling the university out of millions by forging residency documents of hundreds of students who did not live in in the state, the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Delaware said in a press release Wednesday.

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Martin allegedly accepted bribes from a co-conspirator and together they reportedly ran the lucrative scene from 2013 to 2017, cheating taxpayers and the historically Black college out of an estimated $3 million, authorities said.

Tuition for out-of-state students is $16,904 for the 2018-2019 school year, more than two times the $7,868 that in-state students pay for the year, according to the school’s website.

So instead of paying $17,000 in out-of-state tuition, the students paid only $8,000, CBS Philadelphia reports.

“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,” U.S. Attorney David Weiss said.

Weiss noted that when “public employees fall short” of what taxpayers expect of them “my office will hold them accountable.”

The university ended Martin’s employment in March 2017.

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“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 said. “Given the ongoing criminal proceedings, the University cannot comment at this time.”

Martin pleaded guilty to one count of bribery in federal court on Wednesday. She is scheduled to be sentenced in July. She faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, according to prosecutors.


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