Big Cheats on Campus

And she says Laurie became fairly demanding about the work she paid Martinez to do for her, yelling at her because she had failed to capitalize and italicize two words on a paper she wrote for her.

Martinez says that over three-and-a half-years she earned about $20,000 doing Laurie's assignments. At least one of her teachers appeared to notice that Laurie's homework was better than her in-class work.

"Very well written," wrote the professor. "Much better than your exam."

Though she didn't go to Laurie's classes or take her in-class exams, Martinez wrote dozens of papers for her.

Elena's mother, Mary Martinez, didn't approve. But she didn't stop Elena either.

When I confronted her about that, she said, "I have always encouraged Elena to make her own decisions." Eventually she said she even helped her daughter cheat for Laurie. She figured it exposed her daughter to educational opportunities she couldn't afford.

Martinez said Laurie gave her personal information to make it easier for her to correspond with Laurie's professors. "She gave me her e-mail account, her password and everything and actually most of her teachers' e-mail addresses so that any time I had a question or I needed to submit something I'd just do it for her, as her," she said.

"I learned a lot in her classes," Martinez said.

At least someone got an education.

Paige Laurie would not talk to 20/20. A spokesperson for the family released this statement: "Paige Laurie's college record is a private matter and we will have no other comment."

Martinez said she's telling her story because she knows what she did was wrong. "I'm not going to keep this hidden because maybe people will see what's going on in our schools. Maybe there will be some change," she said.

Martinez has been taking classes at a community college but she'd like to return to USC to get a degree.

Martinez sent 20/20 the last e-mails she says she got from Laurie, just this fall. Martinez says this time Laurie asked her to cheat for a friend.

Martinez says she declined.

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