Former Baltimore math professor took pay for grades in bribery scheme; gets 1 year in jail

This former Baltimore City Community College professor flunked hard.

Edward Ennels, 45, who taught math for 15 years, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of bribery and misconduct in office.

According to a release from Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office, Ennels used his position to get students to pay him for academic access codes as well as seeking and taking bribes in exchange for favorable grades from 2013 to 2020.

In March 2020, Ennels sent an email from one of his alter egos, “Bertie Benson,” to another of his alter egos, “Amanda Wilbert.”

While pretending to be Benson, Ennels offered to complete all of one student’s math assignments to assure an A for $300. Then, while pretending to be Wilbert, he forwarded the email to 112 students enrolled in his class. Ennels soon began to engage students directly and offered grades for pay.

A C cost $150; a B was $250; an A was $500 in a higher-level course.

The release said most students from whom Ennels tried to get bribes didn’t want to pay. But he went after them anyway, offering to lower the amount suggesting payment plans.

On Aug. 9, 2020, Ennels tried to get a student to pony up $500 for a passing grade.

According to the release, the student responded: “Oh, I don’t have that sorry. I will be sure to keep studying and pass my exam.”

Ennels responded: “How much can you afford?”

That student and others eventually did cough up the cash for Ennels in exchange for favorable grades.

Between June 2020 and December 2020, Ennels received 10 bribes totaling $2,815 paid by nine students, the release said.

Bribery wasn’t Ennels’ only scheme.

An earlier one, started in August 2013, involved using his official position to promote several vendors that sold the academic access codes required by BCCC students to view instructional materials and complete assignments. But each vendor was, in fact, Ennels.

He used his BCCC email to encourage Math and Engineering Department faculty to distribute a flyer urging students to buy their codes from a “Tom Smith” instead of the book store.

Smith was, you guessed it, another Ennels alter ego.

According to the release, from August 2013 to February 2020, Ennels sold at least 694 access codes for about $90 each, netting himself tens of thousands of dollars.

He got the codes by contacting publishers directly and from BCCC through his associate dean. The release said that, on multiple occasions, Ennels told his associate dean that specific students were experiencing financial hardship in order to obtain access codes, then sold the codes to different students. He also made fraudulent representations to customer service.

“Ennels used his position as professor to implement an elaborate criminal scheme to take advantage of his students,” Frosh said. “I appreciate the cooperation of BCCC in helping bring this case to a successful conclusion and holding Ennels accountable for his criminal actions.”

Ennels’ moneymaking plot was undone when a student he tried to solicit a bribe from reported the former professor to BCCC. The college took the matter to law enforcement for a criminal investigation, which revealed both the scope of the bribery scheme and the existence of the access code scheme.

He was sentenced to 10 years incarceration, 9 years suspended, followed by five years of supervised probation upon release, and restitution of $60,000.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up