Former FAMU admissions officer sentenced in bribery case
July 17, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A former Florida A&M University admissions officer was sentenced Monday on charges of bribery and official misconduct.
Leman Ulee is accused of requesting and receiving bribes from parents in exchange for getting their children admitted to the university and altering their grades.
At the sentencing, the judge said the amount of money involved wasn't great, but the betrayal of trust was.
The judge spared Ulee a prison sentence, but he will be a convicted felon and spend the next five years on probation. Ulee must also spend 60 days in a jail work camp and perform 300 hours of community service.
Ulee's friends and family asked the judge for leniency, calling the bribes a "lapse in judgement" and "very out of character" for the father, grandfather, and ten-year employee of the FAMU Admissions Office.
Ulee told the judge, "On March 27, 2016 I made a bad decision that has changed my life tremendously. This bad decision has not only affected me, it has affected a lot of people."
Ulee was overcome with emotion and asked his attorney to finish reading his statement.
The statewide prosecutor handling the case said Ulee admitted to as many as seven bribe attempts, but they could only prove two. He read a statement from FAMU which said Ulee's actions hurt the university's credibility and "cheapens the process."
The statewide prosecutor also read a letter from the mother of one of the students, who claims Ulee preyed on vulnerable single mothers.
The judge refused to order restitution to a parent who paid Ulee $500, saying that the parent was partly responsible.
May 15, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Leman Ulee changed his plea before a judge Monday morning from 'not guilty' to 'no contest.'
"If I accept your plea of no contest here today, you waive or give up the right to have a trial. Do you understand that?" Judge James Hankinson said. "Yes, Your Honor." Ulee answered.
Authorities say while working as a FAMU admissions officer, Ulee made a deal with parents on two separate occasions asking him to allow their students to be admitted into the university in exchange for money.
FAMU student Marsha Phelima said, "I feel like it's unfair to all the students that do have the requirements to get in. You know how they have a limit for the amount of students that can get into the school, so it's unfair to the ones that could've gotten in and didn't get in because of those students."
Ulee is charged with two counts of bribery and one count of official misconduct.
Jeremy Scott with the Attorney General's Office said, "In one case, he did not actually adjust the records to make it happen. In the other, he did, which is the basis for the official misconduct. There was an adjustment to the records."
Shenaria Lozada, a FAMU student said, "I think taking bribes to let students into college, it wasn't a good idea on his part." She adds, "I think he should be punished. But, I don't know to what extent of punishment since it was only two. But, two is still a lot because it should've been zero."
Judge Hankinson said the maximum penalty is 15 years each for the the two bribery charges, and five years maximum for the officials misconduct charge. He said probation is also an option.
As part of the plea deal, Ulee will get to go back to court for sentencing, where his defense attorney will be allowed to present evidence and testimony about the circumstances.
The sentencing hearing is July 17th.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A former Florida A&M University admissions officer accused of altering records of disqualified students in exchange for payment has entered a plea in his case.
Monday morning, former FAMU administrator Leman Ulee pleaded no contest to two counts of bribery and one count of official misconduct.
His sentencing has been scheduled for July 17th at 1:30 p.m.
The maximum penalty for the bribery charges is 15 years for each count, while the maximum for the official misconduct charge is five years.
November 2, 2016
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Students on FAMU's campus are shocked by the arrest of a former university employee.
46-year-old Leman Ulee was arrested Tuesday on bribery charges. He's accused of altering records of disqualified students in exchange for payment.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says Ulee accepted bribes to admit students to FAMU that would have otherwise been disqualified.
One of the main concerns for students is how this affects the university as a whole. Students say they believe Ulee should be held responsible if the allegations are true, but, they're upset by the implications the arrests brings.
Many students like Raymond Pandley, say allowing someone to attend the school because of a bribe just isn't fair.
Pandley said, "I don't like it because I worked hard to get here and I don't think it's right for somebody to just slide some money under the table and then get in. I'm on full scholarship here and I had to work really, really hard to get it."
FAMU student, Sharard Saddlers, said, "It's very disappointing and it really gives our school a bad look. I feel as though he should've been more thoughtful. We were just named the number one public HBCU in the nation. Then you hear stuff like this, which really brings a negative image."
Akeisha Mandela, a FAMU student, said, "If it were me and I found out my parents had put in a bribe to go to the university, first, I probably would have just started working harder. I would really hope and pray that I get to stay at the university."
Authorities say they don't believe the students whose parents paid the bribe had any knowledge of the deal made with Ulee.
November 2, 2016
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A former Florida A&M University admissions officer was arrested Tuesday on bribery charges, accused of altering records of disqualified students in exchange for payment.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says Leman Ulee, 46, accepted bribes to admit students to FAMU that would have otherwise been disqualified.
According to FDLE, Ulee contacted two mothers and offered to admit the students in return for a cash payment. Officials say one mother paid Ulee and that her student is currently enrolled at FAMU.
The other mother called police after being contacted by Ulee and paid the bribe with money provided by the FDLE. Officials say Ulee altered the records of that student in order to admit them, but the student ended up enrolling at another school.
Neither student knew of the agreement between their parents and Ulee, according to court documents.
FAMU requested that FDLE investigate the matter in March of this year. Ulee was placed on administrative leave without pay in April before his employment with the university was terminated in August.
FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen says that the agency believe there are more victims who didn't realized they were scammed.
“I encourage current and former FAMU students to contact FDLE if you believe you could be a victim," Swearingen said.
Officials say in addition to the two bribery charges, Ulee is also charged with one count of official misconduct for receiving the unauthorized payments. He turned himself in Tuesday and was booked into the Leon County Jail.
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact FDLE Tallahassee at 850-410-7501.