More than 30 people have been charged with participating in a test scoring program that took place over seven years at the U.S. Coast Guard Investigation Center in Louisiana, federal prosecutors announced.
The indictment was around Dorothy Smith, a former employee of the Mandeville Examination Center, who had to give scores on exams. Merchant sailors had to hand over permits on ships, the U.S. Louisiana District Attorney’s Office said. Monday in a press release.
Prosecutors said Smith took bribes to record the test results and linked them to the sailors willing to pay with the help of intermediaries.
According to the statement, these intermediaries are collecting the money and sailors ’requests to Smith, who then falsely communicates the results of the Coast Guard’s computer system. This has allowed various applicants to obtain permits to work on ships, including for positions such as chief engineer.
Six people, including two former Coast Guard employees, are accused of acting as Smith’s mediator. According to authorities, Smith also recorded his own exam for four of these intermediaries. All of them, including Smith, were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Prosecutors say 24 current and former merchant sailors have been accused of illegally obtaining official licenses.