Florida mother, daughter arrested for hacking into student accounts to secure homecoming votes

A Florida mother helped her daughter hack into hundreds of student accounts to ensure that she was crowned homecoming queen, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Authorities said they arrested 50-year-old Laura Carroll, an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary school, and her 17-year-old daughter, a student at Tate High School, on Monday for hacking into hundreds of student FOCUS accounts.

Authorities said that Carroll had district-level access to the school board’s FOCUS program.

The investigation started in November 2020 when the Escambia County School District reported unauthorized access into student accounts and agents said they found evidence that connected Carroll’s cell phone and computers to 246 votes cast for the Homecoming Court.

Police said this comes after hundreds of votes for the high school’s Homecoming Court voting were flagged as fake because 117 votes came from the same IP address within a short period in October 2020.

Officers said they also found that in August 2019, Carroll’s FOCUS account had accessed 372 high school records with 339 of those being Tate High School students.

The daughter and mother were arrested on the following charges:

  • Offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices (a 3rd-degree felony)
  • Unlawful use of a two-way communications device (a 3rd-degree felony)
  • Criminal use of personally identifiable information (a 3rd-degree felony)
  • Conspiracy to commit these offenses (a 1st-degree misdemeanor)

Carroll is being held at the Escambia County Jail with an $8,500 bond and her daughter is being held at the Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center, according to police.

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