16 guilty pleas in licensing scam at New Orleans Coast Guard center
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Sixteen people have pleaded guilty in connection with a mariner’s license test score-fixing scheme at a United States Coast Guard exam center, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans said Tuesday.
They were among more than 30 people indicted in November in the scheme.
U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser’s news release says those whose pleas were announced Tuesday admitted they fraudulently obtained various mariners’ licenses by paying for phony exam scores.
Prosecutors say the false scores were entered by Coast Guard credentialing specialist Dorothy Smith in New Orleans.
“The indictment alleges that Smith accepted bribes in exchange for entering passing test scores and used a network of intermediaries to connect her to license applicants,” the news release said.
Smith is awaiting trial. Court records show she has pleaded not guilty.
Those who have pleaded face sentencing in April and May by U.S. District Judge Barry Ashe. Each pleaded guilty to unlawfully receiving an officer-level mariner license, carrying a possible sentence of up to five years in prison.
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