A former Delaware State University official on Wednesday pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in a scheme that allowed out-of-state students to pay much cheaper in-state tuition.
Crystal Martin, former associate registrar at the historically black institution in Dover, entered the plea in federal court in Wilmington, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss. Her sentencing is scheduled for July 1.
There doesn’t appear to be a connection to the admissions bribery scheme that this year ensnared powerful and wealthy individuals, including actresses Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman. The students in the Delaware case were already admitted to the university.
The Delaware case spanned 2013 to 2017, when, prosecutors said, Martin accepted bribes from a co-conspirator to change the registration of hundreds of out-of-state students, allowing them to qualify for much cheaper in-state tuition.
For 2018-19, tuition for non-Delaware residents was $16,904, compared with $7,868 for those from in the state. State institutions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey also offer cheaper tuition to their in-state residents.
The co-conspirator in the Delaware case was not named and an office spokesperson said she could provide no details on that person.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not name the institution Martin worked for, but Martin’s LinkedIn profile says she worked at Delaware State. A university spokesperson confirmed her employment and said her service ended in March 2017. The university declined further comment.
She used forged residency documents prepared by her co-conspirator to carry out the scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. She collected more than $70,000, while the scheme cost the university more than $3 million in lost tuition.