On Tuesday, Southern California tutor Timothy Lance Lai pleaded guilty to computer fraud and burglary for placing keylogging software on teachers’ computers to steal login credentials which he used to change students’ grades and look at upcoming testing material. Lai was sentenced to one year in prison and five years on probation.
The Newport Beach Police Department became aware of a potential cheating ring in June 2013, when a science teacher told administrators that she thought someone had gone into her reporting software and changed some students’ grades. In January 2014, 11 Corona del Mar High School students were expelled in connection with the scandal, and during the investigation one student said that Lai had asked him repeatedly to install a keylogging “device” on the computers of the AP World History, Honors Chemistry, Spanish, and English teachers. (The student said he only complied with loading the keylogger onto the AP World History teacher’s computer.)
Investigators suspected that up to 150 students had worked with Lai, who could have been using keyloggers since as early as April 2012.
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