Former high school counselor sentenced for inflating grades

Mellissa Krystynak, 49, of St. Lucie, Florida, was sentenced to six months in prison for the mail fraud scheme. She also was fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $13,750 in restitution to the victim scholarship organizations.
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GREENBRIER COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A former high school counselor in West Virginia is facing prison time and fines for inflating her daughter's grades and another daughter's boyfriend's grades to help them get college scholarships.

Mellissa Krystynak, 49, of St. Lucie, Florida, was sentenced to six months in prison for the mail fraud scheme. She also was fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $13,750 in restitution to the victim scholarship organizations.

United States Attorney Mike Stuart says Krystynak was a counselor at Greenbrier West High School in Charmco, West Virginia at the time of the scheme. She was a counselor at the school from 2011 to 2017.

“A college admission scandal right here in West Virginia," said Stuart. "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.”

While Krystynak was a counselor, two of her kids attended the school, Stuart said. She used her position to gain access to the computerized grading programs and bolster at least 34 of her oldest daughter's grades.

Her daughter applied for and received more than 10 different college scholarships using those fraudulent grades. The potential benefit was over $20,000, according to Stuart's office.

“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," said Stuart. "Everyone deserves a level playing field.”

Stuart says Krystynak also changed the grades for her younger daughter's boyfriend. The boy really withdrew from the course and did not receive a grade, but Krystynak changed it to an "A."