A Florida high school student who is accused of working with her mother to rig a homecoming election is being charged as an adult, a prosecutor said.
Emily Rose Grover was 17 years old when she and her mother, Laura Rose Carroll, were arrested in March on several charges, including unauthorized use of computers, unlawful use of a two-way communication device and criminal use of personally identifiable information. She turned 18 in April, Assistant State Attorney John Molchan told NBC News on Wednesday.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) began investigating in November when the Escambia County School District reported that there had been "unauthorized access into hundreds of student accounts," the state agency said in a press release.
Carroll, who works at Bellview Elementary School in Pensacola, and her daughter allegedly used Carroll's credentials to gain access to student records on the district's FOCUS system. The FDLE said that the mother and daughter accessed 372 high school records beginning in August 2019.
Most of the records that were hacked belonged to Tate High School students, where Grover was a student.
Authorities said they also used the system to cast hundreds of votes in the homecoming election at Tate.
According to an affidavit obtained by WKMG-TV, the district used a third-party vendor so students could vote for the homecoming court. Carroll's daughter was crowned queen in October, according to North Escambia, a local newspaper.
FDLE agents said that the fraudulent votes came from the same IP address. They also found evidence "of unauthorized access to FOCUS linked to Carroll’s cellphone as well as computers associated with their residence."
In total, the mother and daughter are accused of casting 246 fake votes.
Grover was expelled from the high school following the incident, according to WKMG.
She and her mother were released from the Escambia County Jail on bond, online records show. It's not clear if they have obtained attorneys.