Mom, Daughter Arrested For Allegedly Hacking Into Homecoming Election, Rigging Votes

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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A Pensacola, Florida, mother and her daughter were arrested Monday for allegedly rigging a high school homecoming court by hacking into school accounts without authorization.

Laura Rose Carroll, 50, an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary, and her 17-year-old daughter, a student at Tate High, were arrested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for one count each of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices, which is a third degree felony.

The pair were also each charged with unlawful use of a two-way communications device and criminal use of personally identifiable information, both of which are third degree felonies. They were also charged with conspiracy to commit these offenses, which is a first degree misdemeanor.

The case began in November when the Escambia County School District contacted the FDLE to report that hundreds of student accounts were accessed without authorization, according to the FDLE.

Investigators found hundreds of votes for Tate High School’s Homecoming Court were flagged for being fraudulent in October, according to the FDLE. There were 117 votes that came from the same IP address within a short period of time. Investigators then found more evidence showing someone accessed the school board’s FOCUS program, which is the school district’s student information center. Agents were able to trace Carroll’s cell phone and computers to 246 votes that were cast for the Homecoming Court.

Other students reported to authorities that Carroll’s daughter said she used her mother’s FOCUS account to cast votes. (RELATED: University Of Pittsburgh Replaces Homecoming King And Queen With ‘More Inclusive’ Titles)

Investigators eventually determined that since August 2019, Carroll allegedly used her FOCUS account to access 372 high school records, 339 of which were Tate High School students.

Carroll was booked into the Escambia County Jail with a bond set at $8,500.

A man who identified himself as Carroll’s husband said he had no comment when reached by CNN.

“We have no comment right now. Our lawyers told us not to speak and we will have our day in court.”

Escambia County School District superintendent Dr. Timothy Smith told the Daily Caller that Carroll is currently suspended from work.

The Daily Caller has reached out to Tate High School but did not receive a response at the time of publication.