One math lesson Prof. Edward C. Ennels taught at Baltimore City Community College was, according to prosecutors, pretty simple: $150 for a C; $250 for a B; and $500 for an A.
And in some courses, an A could go for as little as $300.
Over the course of seven months last year, Mr. Ennels, 45, solicited bribes from 112 students, and received 10 payments from nine students, totaling $2,815, the Maryland attorney general, Brian E. Frosh, said in a statement on Thursday.
In another scheme, Mr. Ennels sold online access codes that enabled students to view instructional material and complete assignments, prosecutors said. From 2013 to 2020, he sold 694 access codes for about $90 each.
Mr. Ennels, a professor at the college for 15 years who served on the faculty senate’s Ethics and Institutional Integrity Committee, pleaded guilty on Thursday in Baltimore County Circuit Court to 11 misdemeanor charges, including bribery and misconduct in office, according to prosecutors and online court records.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but one year of the term suspended and to be served in a local jail. He was also ordered to pay $60,000 in restitution and will be on probation for five years upon his release.
Mr. Frosh said in his statement that Mr. Ennels employed “an elaborate criminal scheme to take advantage of his students,” including using multiple aliases to hide his identity.
In March 2020, Mr. Ennels sent an email using one of his aliases, “Bertie Benson,” to another of his aliases, “Amanda Wilbert,” prosecutors said in a statement. In the email, “Benson” offered to complete “Wilbert’s” math assignments, guaranteeing her an A for $300, prosecutors said.
Then, as “Wilbert,” Mr. Ennels forwarded that email to 112 students enrolled in a class that he was teaching, prosecutors said. “Ennels often haggled with students regarding the amount of the bribe, and set different prices based on the course and grade desired,” according to the statement.
Most students declined to pay the bribes and Mr. Ennels “often persisted, offering to lower the amount of the bribe or offering payment plans,” according to the statement.
According to the statement, one student rebuffed the $500 solicitation for an A by saying: “Oh I don’t have that sorry. I will be sure to keep studying and pass my exam.” Mr. Ennels’s response, according to prosecutors: “How much can you afford?”
That student ultimately paid a bribe, according to prosecutors, who did not say how much that particular student paid.
A telephone message left at the Baltimore City Community College, which has around 14,000 students, many from the Baltimore City area, was not immediately returned Thursday night.
Benjamin J. Herbst, a lawyer for Mr. Ennels, said in an interview on Thursday night that Mr. Ennels did what he did “only to keep up with a gambling addiction” and was “in no way motivated” by greed. He did not live a lavish lifestyle or squirrel the money away for later, Mr. Herbst said.
“He’s a good person, he loved his job, he loved his students,” he said of Mr. Ennels. “He’ll move past this.”
Alain Delaquérière contributed research.
Source From Nytimes