Former High School Counselor Sentenced for Mail Fraud Scheme Inflating Daughter's Grades to Obtain College Scholarships
BECKLEY, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced that Mellissa Krystynak, 49, of St. Lucie, Florida, was sentenced to six months in prison for a mail fraud scheme she executed while employed as a counselor at Greenbrier West High School, in Charmco, Greenbrier County, West Virginia. She was also ordered to pay $13,750 in restitution to the victim scholarship organizations, and she was fined an additional $5,000.
“A college admission scandal right here in West Virginia. Hiking a daughter’s grades and changing a daughter’s boyfriend’s grades are both new ones on me. Although every parent with a teenager appreciates the fantasy, you just can’t do it even if you want to,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Krystynak abused her position of authority to inflate her daughter’s grades and, adding even more harm, to use those fake grades to obtain college scholarships. Everyone deserves a level playing field.”
Krystynak was a school counselor at Greenbrier West from 2011 until 2017. While she was employed there, two of her children attended the school. Krystynak used her position as a counselor to gain access to the school’s computerized grading programs to inflate at least thirty-four of her oldest daughter’s grades. Her daughter then used the inflated grades to apply for and receive over ten different college scholarships with a potential benefit of over $20,000. These scholarships were based on applications containing the fraudulent grades and transcripts. Krystynak also changed one of the grades of her younger daughter’s boyfriend from a course he withdrew from and received no grade to an “A.”
United States District Judge Irene Berger imposed the sentence. Former Assistant United States Attorney Gabriel Wohl and Assistant United States Attorney Steve Loew handled the prosecution. The investigation was conducted by the United States Department of Education, Office of Inspector General.
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