Former DSU registrar pleads guilty to bribery

WILMINGTON – A former Delaware State University associated registrar pleaded guilty to bribery Wednesday morning for collecting more than $70,000 regarding fraudulent tuition rates, authorities said.

Crystal Martin faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on July 1. She was released on her own recognizance and her employment with DSU ended in March 2017.

An unnamed co-conspirator was also referenced in a news release and no further details were available.

After the plea was announced by the United States Attorney’s Office District of Delaware, the university declined to speak on the matter.

“We don’t comment on ongoing litigation,” DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes said.

Investigation began as a result of a concerned citizen and is ongoing, the federal government said. DSU has cooperated throughout the probe, according to spokeswoman Kim Reeves.

The U.S. Attorney estimated that DSU lost more than $3 million during between 2013 and 2017. The public announcement was based on court documents and statements.

Describing the operation as a “scheme” the federal government said Ms. Martin accepted money to change the registration status of hundreds of out of state students, thus lowering tuition paid to the school. The students were fraudulently categorized as in-state residents, and the university received less money than required when they entered school, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware said, “The defendant abused her position at a public university to personally profit and defraud her employer.

“Individuals who accept bribes while serving in a public capacity risk undermining trust in those institutions. 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 out public employees – when those employees fall short of these expectations my office will hold them accountable.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Education and Delaware State Police investigated the case, assisted by the Delaware Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust.

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