Student Steals Passwords To Rig College Election, Wins Year In Jail
One college student wanted to be student body president so badly, he rigged the election. Now he's earned himself a year in jail, the US attorney's office said Monday.
The Assocated Press reports that 22-year-old Matthew Weaver, a former student at Cal State San Marcos in the San Diego area, has been sentenced to a year in prison for stealing the identities and passwords of 745 fellow students.
Weaver, who's from Huntington Beach, pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud, unauthorized access of a computer and identity theft. He admitted that he used small electronic devices that record a computer user's keystrokes to steal the passwords.
According to AP, he used those stolen identities to cast about 630 votes for himself and used the other 145 hacked accounts to vote for his friends who were also on the ballot.
It wasn't just the glory Weaver, who was then a third-year business student, wanted. The OC Weekly reports that the position comes with an $8,000 stipend and oversight of a $30,000 Associated Students Inc. annual budget. According to ABC10 in San Diego, he would have access to $36,000 in funds if he'd won the election.
The FBI caught on when they discovered Weaver had purchased three keyloggers more than a month before the election. A search of his laptop showed he'd searched for "how to rig an election" and "jail time for keylogger."
After his arrest, Weaver used "phenomenally bad judgment" by trying to cover up the crime by hacking different online accounts and making it seem like others were to blame, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns told ABC News. "The first offense was compounded by a like-minded offense and that's really troubling to me," said Burns.
According to ABC10, he was also the editor of the student newspaper The Koala, which was "hated for material considered racist by some but loved by others for its party reviews and humor," the channel reported. His mother has said that her son was a good student who was on the dean's list.
He was given $20,000 bail and ordered to turn over his passport.