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FBI suspects student candidate of hacking his own election

Matt Weaver
Matt Weaver, student at Cal State San Marcos, arrested March 15 on suspicion of trying to steal the election he was running in using university computers and stolen student passwords, say police.Deborah Sullivan Brennan / North County Times

Campaign season can make presidential candidates do crazy things, but it's not often one resorts to hacking into a computer and stealing 700 voters' passwords and IDs to alter the electronic polling results.

Then again, not every presidential candidate is as desperate as Matt Weaver allegedly was.

A college junior running for president of the student government at California State San Marcos, north of San Diego, Weaver was arrested on March 15 on suspicion of election fraud, unlawful access to a computer and 10 counts of identity theft, the North County Times reported. March 15 was the last day of the four-day voting period.

University officials detected suspicious activity on a school computer and traced it to Weaver, who allegedly was found working a school computer and in possession of a device used to steal passwords, the newspaper reported. Weaver is believed to have stolen approximately 700 students' passwords and user IDs, which he used to alter the election results.

The election was canceled following Weaver's arrest, and rescheduled for May. Weaver posted bail the day after he was arrested and no charges have been filed against him.

FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth confirmed to the North County Times Wednesday that the FBI is now investigating the case. Foxworth declined to say exactly what federal agents were looking for, only that "it appears there may be violations of federal laws."

The newspaper story added that Weaver is the editor of an underground campus newspaper that has drawn criticism for its "explicit violent and sexual content."

Farther north in California, about 50 of Berkeley High School's 3,200 students are facing suspension for a similar offense: hacking into the school's computer system and accepting payment to clear students' absences last fall.

At least four of the students face expulsion for spearheading the scam, in which a stolen administrative password was used to access the school's attendance database, called Powerschool, Oakland's KTVU News reported.

Principal Pasquale Scuderi did not disclose how much money the ringleaders made.

Photo of Weaver taken by Deborah Sullivan Brennan for the North County Times. Used with permission.

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