Mammoth Police arrest teen and allege computer hacking and selling of grades

MLPD 3-23-10


On May 11, 2012 a 15 year old Mammoth Lakes High School student was arrested following an investigation into alleged hacking ofthe school’s computer system for the purpose of changing student grades.  Officer Andy Lehr, the School Resource Officer, became aware of the crime approximately one week ago and after interviewing several students, identified the subject and determined that he was changing the grades for other students for money.

The student, whose name will not be released due to his age, was arrested for 502 of the Penal Code (Unauthorized Access to Computers, Computer Systems, and Computer Data) and 460 PC (Second Degree Burglary) and released to his parents.  He was cited back to Juvenile Court.


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37 Responses to Mammoth Police arrest teen and allege computer hacking and selling of grades

  1. Wayne Deja May 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    What was it that some posters were saying about no need,and a waste of money,for a School Resource Officer ?…..or is this type of crime OK,or no big deal, in the town of Mammoth?

    • sierragrl May 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      What, for some reason a LEO not assigned to the school couldn’t investigate and make an arrest? am I missing something Wayne?

    • Tourbillon May 14, 2012 at 11:26 am #

      On the contrary. That we are paying a policeman to charge trivial juvenile misbehavior as a crime, and that the Mono County Courts are evidently complicit in elevating what should be a school/family issue into a criminal justice issue, strongly suggests that the police and courts in Mono County are underemployed. It proves there is PLENTY of fat to cut.

      • harry May 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

        Tourbillon, It is a crime! It isn’t trivial juvenile misbehavior! It is the gateway to more serious web criminal activity on the part of this individual. Not only was he hacking into the schools computer system he was doing it for a profit. These charges and his appearance in Juvenile Court will never be available to the public unless another juvenle with similar skills hacks into the Juvenile Court records and publishes them. The sooner these young smart people get caught engaging in in this type of crime the sooner they hopefuly will learn not to use their skills for criminal activity. In my opinion the students who paid him to change their grades should also be charged.

        Enforcing the law is not an indication that there is fat to be cut. It proves the need for a good working polide department.

        • Jake May 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

          We do not need a officer on campus to make an arrest…. maybe YOU can pay for it.

  2. Tourbillon May 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    No, the kid should not have changed the grades. Time was, you did something like that and you got suspended, and if it was really egregious, maybe expelled and sent to a special school. That was when we still retained a sense of perspective.

    Now, a 15 year old male with the zero judgment which is characteristic of that charming age and gender cohort (to which I once zestfully belonged) gets criminally charged for fooling around with a computer. He gets hit with second degree burglary, which can be charged as a felony. But that isn’t enough blood. He also gets charged with section 502, which provides the following punishment for altering data: a fine of up to $10,000, or imprisonment for 16 months, or two or three years, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by a fine not exceeding $5,000, or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. Take your pick. That ought to teach him and set an example, right, Parson Mather?

    We are over-lawed, this kid has been over-charged, and such hyperventilating over-reaction in which harmless miscreant acts are branded as “crimes” has not been this common since the Puritans ran Boston. At the least the perp has an excuse for his lack of judgment: his young age. What excuse do the purported adults involved have?

    • Bill May 14, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      Tourbillon, just wait and see… it’s a little early to over-react.

      Just because the laws you stated could possibly carry such stiff penalties does not mean this 15 yr old kid will actually be sentenced so severely. I think there is still a bit of “perspective” out there.

      However, just because this crime may be “charming” and needs a modicum of intelligence to carry out, doesn’t mean it is not serious, especially if he/she got away w/ it. Changing grades now MAY lead to stealing identities or other computer fraud later on in life – if the perp never gets caught.

      Isn’t it important to teach our kids right from wrong, illegal from legal? Again, I don’t think the kid’s life is going to be ruined by this; I’m sure the punishment will fit the crime.

      • Tourbillon May 14, 2012 at 11:31 am #

        Bill, if you want to counsel against overreaction, why don’t you dial up the officer who charged this kid with multiple crimes?

        And yes, it’s important to teach kids right from wrong. Reread the first sentence of my post. But when traditional non-judicial institutions are increasingly displaced by the criminal justice system, we are using a sledgehammer to kill a gnat. We are teaching kids that overreaction is OK. And we are contributing to the decline in civility by diminishing civil institutions and replacing them with the dogma that every act or even opinion you don’t like is not simply misguided or mistaken, it is criminal.

        • Bill May 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

          Tourbillon, the LEO did his job and applied charges to the crimes committed. It’s not his job to prosecute those charges. That is up to our court system to determine and maybe some charges get dropped or downgraded?

          And again, it’s too early to over-react… the D.A., lawyers, and judge will met out the proper sentencing in due time.

          Kids need to be taught right and wrong. Sometimes, the parents do all they can, or fall short, this is where the law, schools, and court system etc come in to play. Discipline is uneasy sometimes, but it’s important to be taught to follow the laws and rules of society.

  3. Ken Warner May 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Yeah, but on the plus side, if he learns enough in Felony University to enhance his hacking skills, he’ll end up with a movie and book deal and work for some computer security firm for big bucks.

    So I’d say he’s on the right track and don’t let little setbacks like felony prison time hold him back.

  4. Wayne Deja May 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Tourbillon…..In my opinion,if I were the D.A.,I would charge this kid to the max,and let it play out in court… send a message to all the stupid kids that think ,if your able to hack into a computer,one can totally turn the school system,and education system upside down.Think of all the repercussions this type of behavior could have on everyone on a broader scale over time… maybe a bunch of stupid kids getting passing grades ,and collage scholarships that aren’t deserved,while the hard-working students are on the outside looking in….but,with the court system we have,we all know what he’ll get is a slap on the wrist,and sent on his merry way…and probably,later on, write a book on how to do what he has done.

    • Joe May 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm #


      My dad was telling me one day that when he was in college, someone had broken into his schools computer system and had a fictitious student graduate the computer science department with honors. The person that did it did not get in trouble but in fact was asked to write a paper on how he was able to get into the computer system and add the student with all of his fictitious grades. He ended up helping to patch the hole in the school system.

      We should be nurturing the gift the kid has at computers and not prosecuting him. I think that the kid should just get suspended and then hired by the school since their IT guy/gal had no idea it was going on and it was only found out when a teacher that overheard some students talking.

    • Trouble May 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      Wayne- Before you flog this kid, tell me who the victim is here?

      • Rob May 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

        The victim? The IT managers ego.

      • Wayne Deja May 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

        The victim(s)are the kids that bust their butts to do well in school,trying to get good grades,and trying to go on to collage to better themselves. and the teachers,trying to educate their students,…while some find ways to loligag through their classes,do nothing to advance any,except for finding ways to beat the system…and then be a drain on society once they are out and on their own….looking for more victims to victimize…weather it be through the internet,or some other way.If this is “no big deal”,or thinking this kid should be rewarded,or “nurtured” for what he did….and would have kept on doing if he was not caught….I would like to know what the teachers,and school district employees think… if it’s a “big deal” or not…or if it is something that should be swept under the rug and forgotten about….or ignored

  5. Reality Bites May 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    I would put the kid on probation, community service and some mentoring and not ruin his chances to be a productive citizen for the rest of his life with a felony.

    I am betting Wayne did some dumb things as a kid and never got caught.

    • Wayne Deja May 14, 2012 at 7:33 am #

      Reality Bites…..Most of the dumb things I did,I waited untill I was an adult to do them.But,even still,nothing that included anytype of felony charges or arrests.But you are right saying a few things I never got caught doing….thank goodness…

    • harry May 14, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

      The kid is a juvenile. He will serve no time. His juvenile record will be sealed. If he is smart and learns his lesson from this he will be able to use his computer skills to get him a degree in computer science and be a productive member of society.

      • In the know May 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

        Harry, if he was arrested for a felony and fingerprinted ,that stays on his Rap Sheet for the rest of his life, even if the report is sealed.

  6. Trouble May 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    I say leave this kid alone. 15 years old and probably smarter than the teachers he has to listen to all day long. I’d love to hear how they came up with burglary on this one. After they get done screwing up this kids life, maybe they should hire him to protect their programs.

    • harry May 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

      It is the kid who is screwing up his own life. I hope he learns from this experence.

  7. Rob May 14, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    If the kid doesn’t have any priors no judge in his right mind would convict him of a felony. A few hundred hours of community service would do just fine. If he truely hacked their system and didn’t just steal a password he has a job waiting for him when he graduates.

    But remember judge, many companies won’t hire felons.

  8. Eastern Sierra local May 14, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    The kid should get an “A” in his computer class!

    • Wayne Deja May 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      And maybe ANOTHER party on the mountain for him…..

      • Trouble May 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

        Wayne- to compare this kid to the Walker case is anal. All he did was piss off the the Mammoth teachers and their overblown egos. Your argument that he cheated some kid out of his real grade is weak. This should be handled by the principle , not a judge.

        • Rob May 15, 2012 at 9:59 am #

          There’s a couple of guys down in Inyo being tried for sexual crimes, perhaps mmsa can through a party for them.

        • Wayne Deja May 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

          Rob…I didn’t compare this to the Walker case…..YOU did…What I see in some posts here is more Mammoth Mountain “hero-worship” going on…like this kid should be rewarded for what he did…And saying all he did was is “piss off some teachers with egos”…now that is an anal thing to say….I never said he cheated some kid out of a grade….If I had a teenager busting his butt in school,and doing well,I wouldn’t want them possibly being passed over for a scholarship by some slacker…with rich parents..that was buying his grades from some cheat that was able to hack into a computer system.If he was that “smart” to do that,I’ll be willing to bet,if LE took the computer as evidence,which I bet they did,they are going to find all kinds of “intresting” stuff on it.But since he is a juvenile,doubt any of it would come out….unless it’s something REALLY bad.

          • Rob May 15, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

            Hey Wayne, you put up a valid argument that I have to agree with. The hard working kids don’t deserve it.

            I think it’s easy to take comments out of context when one doesn’t personally know the person making a post. Many of my comments are just sarcasm.

  9. Reallysad May 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    this is based on personal experience with my son.

  10. Just the facts May 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Interesting different points of view.

    Some see this story as:
    Boys will be boys. Scare him soundly and perhaps he’s learned his lesson.

    Others see it as:
    Show no mercy. Hang ’em from the highest tree. That’s the lesson to be learned.

  11. Trouble May 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    I think the police should be ashamed to admit their throwing the book at a sophomore for something so minor.

    • sierragrl May 16, 2012 at 9:05 am #

      first of all, the police arrest people, the DA charges them. The DA in Mono county, and I think Inyo too, have lost all touch with reality on what a ‘real’ crime is. They typically charge the worst crime they possibly can and pile it on best they can, with the idea of forcing the person into a plea bargain for what they should’ve been charged with originally. Not saying this kid doesn’t deserve punishment or maybe even criminal charges. Just saying I have even less respect for the DA’s offices then the police. For the most part, MLPD does a decent job. I’ve seen a few surprising things from the PD lately, but I’m hopeful those are exceptions to how they operate, and not a trend.

      • Trouble May 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

        Sierra Girl- The police and DA are in bed together. I’m glad to see you seem to agree these charges are overkill. I hope the DA does the right thing and realizes this is just a kid being a kid.

  12. jose chavez May 16, 2012 at 5:26 am #

    dont punish the kid for his creaative talent…..punish him for breaking school rules. yes , in the eyes of the law, he broke it. any officer could have file those charges…..not just the school’s resource officer. mammoth high is still a very small campus so there is plenty of argument if an officer is needed or not…….ok, back to this kid…..expell or suspend him….jocks used to get away with everything….am assuming this kid is not a jock…….

  13. tit for tat May 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    You don’t suppose this “bust” is in response to the MLPD being told they may have to cut their staff?

    • Harry May 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

      Sad that you look at the police doing their job enforcing the law as a payback. Bashing the police is wrong. You should bash those who created the problem, the Town Council, their high paid consultants and over paid lawyers whose shoddy work and their inaccurate advice that led the Town into this financial black hole on the airport issue. It is time to focus on the real issue.

  14. salblaster May 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    I would bet that kid is scared out of his or her mind right now and their family. when the full force of the police come down on someone its with the maximum charges possible then a plea deal is usually reached after 5 or 6 court dates . hopefully the student won’t see jail time over what should have been handled by the principal and parents. cut um some slack its not like he held up a mini mart at gun point just a kid who probably regrets it more than anything in life right now.


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