Politicians may occasionally get away with cheating in one form or fashion, but they'd better not try it at the California State University San Marcos. It just might earn them jail time.
Matt Weaver, a junior at the school, ran for president last year. And to ensure his victory, he rigged the campus election by stealing passwords from roughly 750 students to cast votes for himself. Earlier this week, that stunt earned him a year in prison.
Weaver pled guilty to a trio of federal charges in relation to the vote tampering,including wire fraud and unauthorized access to a computer. He called his actions "childish, foolish and arrogant" in his sentencing hearing.
Judge Larry Burns, however, was not moved by the mea culpa,in large part due to Weaver's attempts to cover his tracks after he was caught.
"That’s the phenomenal misjudgment I can’t get around," said Burns. "He’s on fire for this crime, and then he pours gasoline on it to try to cover it up."
Prosecutors say Weaver spent months planning the crime,installing key loggers to secretly record user keystrokes on 19 school computers. He used those to collect passwords from students, which he then used to cast votes for himself on election day. The plot was discovered when one ofthose students attempted to vote, but found herself unable to do so since her vote had already been cast.
School technicians called the police, who arrested Weaver at a school computer -- with the keyloggers in hand.
After getting out on bail, Weaver and a friend attempted a cover-up, creating fake Facebook pages using the names of real students and filling those pages with conversations made to look like those students intended to frame Weaver. That's what enraged Judge Burns.
Weaver, by all accounts, didn't really stand a chance with voters thanks to his unsanctioned (and self-published) "humor"magazine, which ran tasteless lists like "Top Five Excuses For Rape."
Jail isn't Weaver's only trouble. The school's upset with him too, since it says it had to spend $40,000 to clean up the security breach.Later this month, Weaver will have to attend a restitution hearing about that bill.
- Crime & Justice
- Matt Weaver