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US student stole IT passwords to change academic grades

Omar Khan expected to be jailed and fined after using spyware to alter results

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A former high school senior from Orange County, California, has pleaded guilty to charges that he installed spyware on school computers in order to boost his grades.

Omar Kahan, of Coto de Caza California, was one of two Tesoro High School students arrested three years ago in connection with the incident. The other student, Tanvir Singh, pleaded guilty in September 2008. Khan's guilty plea came as his trial was finally set to start this week.

Prosecutors say that in his senior year of high school, Khan developed a habit of breaking into school offices to steal tests and mess with the school's computers. He "installed spyware devices on the computers of several teachers and school administrators throughout his senior year," the office of the Orange County District Attorney said in a news release.

These passwords gave him access to the tests and the ability to boost his grades. Khan changed his Spanish, Calculus and English grades from C's and D's to A's and a B+ and altered the grades of 12 other students, prosecutors said.

On 18 April 2008, he was caught cheating on a statistics test. That weekend he broke into the school's assistant principal's office and "stole the test in an attempt to destroy the evidence that he cheated," the DA's office said.

On 21 April he changed his transcript grades in the school's grade database and immediately asked for certified copies of his transcripts so that he could appeal rejection letters from the University of Southern California, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Singh tagged along with Khan to steal an English test during a 19 May nighttime break-in. He has since served 200 hours of community service, a DA spokeswoman said.

Khan, now 21, is due to be sentenced on 26 August. Though he had been facing a maximum of 38 years in prison on the felony burglary and public-record tampering charges, he's expected to be sentenced to 30 days in jail, 500 hours of community service, and ordered to pay about $15,000 in restitution.


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Hacker Smart said: This should have been a mere suspension Nothing more What a wate of years This court system is ridiculous The school is a fault too for not stopping this from happening

Julie said: Truth is this case was overblown and the DAs office including Susan Heesoo Kang Schroeder Tony Rackaukas Elizabeth Henderson and Charles Lawhorn all were involved in this The reason being is that they wanted to have this become a big case so that all students in the OC say Oh God I wont ever cheat in school again Well guess what that wont happen cuz students here are still going to do it The DAs office filed overblown charges and could not resolve it afterward because they would look bad in the press 69 counts for juvenile high school pranks Thats what this justice system has come toIm sure Tesoro employees like Daniel Birch and Lance Christensen others were so upset at the fact that they forgot to lock the doors that they played victim and asked the DA to throw the book on one guy whereas there were 13 involved Guess what nobody else was charged except one because their birthdays were a couple months after this kids Epitome of this justice systemProsecute kids win elections and eat up taxpayer money This should have been a juvenile case and if was not blown up to be this huge in the first place then even an hour of community service would seem too much I equate this to a senior prank that was done at my school People actually filmed breaking into the school and damaging classrooms but guess what the DAs office said Why would I charge in a case like that Its stupid Hand out a suspension The school should be sued and all of those idiots should be firedWay to go Heesoo Kang

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