Dozens Charged in Coast Guard ‘Fixing’ Scheme

Coast Guard Arrest Dorothy Smith

More than 30 people working for the United States Coast Guard were arrested for their part in a test score-fixing scheme. One worker took bribes in exchange for passing tests, giving out licenses and hiring for certain positions. Now will other federal agencies drain their swamps?

Coast Guard members arrested

Federal prosecutors announced the Coast Guard arrests took place at an exam center in Louisiana. The investigation started with a woman named Dorothy Smith who ran the pay for play scheme for more than eight years.

The 15-page federal indictment lists Smith as a credentialing specialist at the regional exam center in Mandeville, Louisiana. Her job was to enter scores for Coast Guard exams for merchant mariners.

A certain score was needed to get a license for access to a ship. Prosecutors say Dorothy Smith took bribes to fix the exam scores and used a network of accomplices who introduced her to maritime workers who were willing to pay.

The indictment states that applicants would pay $1,000-$3,500 cash along with their applications and Smith would provide them with a license to work with the U.S. Merchant Marine.

This maritime service is outside of the U.S. Military and comprised of civilian mariners and cargo transport ships which assist the U.S. Navy with moving supplies.

This is a classic case of corruption you would expect in some third-world country, but this was taking place here in our own United States Coast Guard.

Investigators said Dorothy Smith’s accomplices would funnel her money and requests in exchange for a percentage of the profits. She would then falsely report the scores in the Coast Guard computer system.

The bogus test scores granted applicants access to ships where they weren’t really eligible to work. This included important positions such as chief engineer.

Six people, including several former Coast Guard employees, are accused of acting as accomplices to Dorothy Smith’s pay for play scheme.

Investigators claim four of those accomplices had their own test scores fixed by Smith as well. Everyone involved has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Prosecutors said another 24 current and former merchant mariners were charged with unlawfully receiving officer-level licenses. If convicted, each of the defendants face a maximum 5-year prison term.


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