CSUF EMPLOYEE CONVICTED OF ACCEPTING BRIBES IN EXCHANGE FOR ADMITTING FOREIGN STUDENTS TO THE UNIVERSITY

OCDASeal

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
Case # 07CF2984

January 29, 2008

Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

CSUF EMPLOYEE CONVICTED OF ACCEPTING BRIBES IN EXCHANGE FOR ADMITTING FOREIGN STUDENTS TO THE UNIVERSITY

SANTA ANA – An administrative assistant at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), was convicted today on charges of taking monetary bribes from Kuwaiti students studying abroad in exchange for admitting them to CSUF. Cathleen Louise Smith, 54, Placentia, pleaded guilty to four felony counts of being a state employee asking for and receiving a bribe and one felony count of possession of a controlled substance. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail, three years formal probation, restitution to cover the amount of the bribes as determined by the Department of Probation, and must undergo drug and psychological counseling. The four students involved in the bribery scheme were expelled from CSUF.  

 

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 three 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 accepted money from students studying abroad from Kuwait. She took bribes in exchange for admitting them into CSUF and allowed them to circumvent the standard admissions process and review. Officer’s found methamphetamine in Smith’s pocket when she was booked into jail.

 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Hess of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.

 

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