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Former DSU officer receives 15 months in bribery case

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

David C. Weiss, U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware, announced Feb. 21 that Crystal Martin, former associate registrar at Delaware State University, was sentenced to 15 months’ incarceration today by the Hon. Richard G. Andrews, U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware.

According to court documents and statements made in open court, between 2013 and 2017, Martin accepted bribes from codefendant Stephen Williams in order to change the registration status of hundreds of out-of-state students, falsely qualifying them for in-state tuition. Using forged residency documents prepared by her coconspirator, Martin’s actions allowed these students to pay reduced tuition, when in fact, she knew these students should be paying the higher rate for out-of-state residents. The out-of-state students paid Williams for this fraudulent service, who in turn paid Martin, and during the scheme Martin personally collected thousands of dollars in bribe payments. The loss to DSU in reduced tuition payments during this four-year-period exceeded $3 million.

“The citizens of Delaware depend on public officials to perform their work honestly and to put the public interest first,” said Weiss. “The defendant did the opposite when she accepted bribe after bribe to change the registration status of out-of-state students and deprive a public institution of millions of dollars. How much she personally profited matters little. She sold out Delaware State University and the people of Delaware. With the help of our dedicated law enforcement partners, my office will continue to prosecute individuals who violate the public trust.”

“We look to our University leaders to stand for integrity and fairness, but the defendant violated that trust when she took part in this scheme to steal from the taxpayers of Delaware,” said Jennifer Boone, special agent in charge of the Baltimore Division of the FBI. “Today’s sentence shows those actions have severe consequences and the FBI stands ready to hold accountable anyone who abuses the system for their own personal gain.”

"With today’s action, the two people who perpetrated this fraud scam not only against Delaware State University but America’s taxpayers have now been sentenced and held accountable for their fraudulent actions,” said Geoffrey Wood, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s Eastern Regional Office. “I am proud of the contribution of OIG Special Agents and our law enforcement partners for their work in the case and commitment to protecting Federal education funds from such abuse.”

This case was investigated by the FBI Baltimore Division’s Wilmington Office, the United States Department of Education, and Delaware State Police, with assistance from the Delaware Attorney General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Whitney C. Cloud and Laura D. Hatcher.