|For Immediate Release
Case # 07CF2984
September 7, 2007
CSUF EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH ACCEPTING
BRIBES IN EXCHANGE FOR ADMITTING FOREIGN STUDENTS TO THE UNIVERSITY
SANTA ANA – An administrative assistant at Cal State University, Fullerton (CSUF), was arraigned today on charges of taking monetary bribes from Kuwaiti students studying abroad in exchange for admitting them to CSUF. Cathleen Louise Smith, 54, Placentia, is charged with five felony counts of being a state employee asking for and receiving a bribe and one felony count of possession of a controlled substance. If convicted on all counts, she faces a maximum sentence of eight years and eight months in prison. Smith pleaded not guilty and was released on her own recognizance. She has a pre-trial scheduled for October 15, 2007 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.
In May of 2007, the Admissions office at CSUF conducted an audit of student admissions and found that Smith’s user code had been used to admit a small number of students. Smith had been an administrative assistant for many years at the school and one of her duties included entering student admission applications into the University computer system. She was not authorized to admit students or alter their admission status in the database. Between January 1, 2006 and June 1, 2007, Smith is accused of accepting money from students studying abroad from Kuwait. She is accused of taking bribes in exchange for admitting them into the University and allowing them to circumvent the standard admissions process and review. She is accused of having methamphetamine in her pocket, which officers found when booking her.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Hess of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.