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Former Greenbrier West High School Counselor Sentenced To 6 Months In Prison For Changing Daughter’s Grades

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UPDATE: 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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BECKLEY, W.Va. — Mellissa Krystynak, 49, of St. Lucie, Florida, pled guilty to a mail fraud scheme she executed while employed as a counselor at Greenbrier West High School, in Charmco, Greenbrier County, West Virginia.  The investigation was conducted by the Office of Inspector General, United States Department of Education.
 
“This takes cheating to a whole new level,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “We expect to find students cheating.  We don’t expect a parent abusing a position of authority to inflate her daughter’s grades and, adding even more harm, to use those fake grades to obtain federal benefits and, potentially, keep a deserving student from a legitimate opportunity.  I think it’s fair to say that Krystynak might not be the best role model to emulate.  Very, very sad.”
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 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 report cards and transcripts.
Krystynak faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and 3 years of supervised release when she is sentenced on May 16, 2019.  United States District Judge Irene Berger presided over the plea hearing.  Assistant United States Attorney Steve Loew is handling the prosecution.

 



Tyler Barker

Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.com


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