Guilty plea entered in $3 million bribes for in-state tuition scheme at Delaware State University

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Stephen Williams, of Neptune, NJ pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to bribery in a case of evasion of out of state tuition at Delaware State University

Williams is the co-defendant of Crystal Martin, the Delaware State University administrator who pled guilty to the same bribery scheme in April.

Williams’ sentencing is scheduled for September 6. Williams faces a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment.

According to court documents and statements made in open court, between 2013 and 2017, Williams was the mastermind of a bribery scheme at DSU.

Williams recruited students to pay him a fee to change their student registration status from out-of-state residency to in-state residency. After students paid him their fee, Williams helped create forged residency documents, such as leases, and then delivered the forged documents to his co-defendant Martin to place in the students’ files, justifying the residency changes that Martin recorded in the university’s computer system.

Williams paid Martin a percentage of the fee he collected from each student whose residency was changed, amounting to approximately $70,000 over the course of four years.

Williams also paid DSU students to recruit others interested in having their registration status changed. While the total amount that Williams profited from his scheme remains unknown, the estimated cost of reduced tuition payments to DSU during this four-year-period exceeded $3 million.

U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss stated, “The defendant created and ran a four-year scheme that defrauded Delaware State University. In so doing, he encouraged hundreds of people, and most importantly his co-defendant Martin, to break the law. Further, he deprived his own alma mater and Delaware taxpayers of the rightful tuition proceeds for Delaware State University so that he could personally profit. Defendants who repeatedly break the law for their own personal gain at the expense of Delaware citizens must be held accountable.”

“Tracking down those who cheat the Federal student aid program will always be a priority of our office,” said Geoffrey Wood, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s Eastern Region. “That’s why I’m proud of the work of OIG special agents and our law enforcement partners in holding Mr. Williams accountable for his criminal actions and we’ll continue to work together to protect Federal education funds from this type of fraud.”

This case was investigated by FBI BaltimoreDivision’sWilmington Office, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General, and Delaware State Police, with assistance from the Delaware Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura D. Hatcher and Whitney Cloud.

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