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Tutor arrested in grade-hacking scheme

Tutor arrested in grade-hacking scheme
Photo courtesy of Philips

If this story were made into a tv show, I can imagine a commercial trailer with the narrator saying, " ... and a tutor who will stop at nothing to make sure his students make the grade."

Of course, is there any way a 29 year-old man - one stupid enough to hack into a high school network to change a few grades - wouldn't get stopped by the authorities? For Timothy Lai, a private tutor for students in Corona del Mar, CA, poor judgement could cost him nearly to six years in the jail. He is charged with one felony count of burglary and four felony counts of computer access fraud.

A student had notified authorities that Lai had asked him to install a USB keylogger (a device that records keystrokes) to a teacher's computer. It turns out, Lai actually did the job with no accomplices - breaking into a campus building and placing the keylogger himself. Eventually, his bad judgement caught up with him as a search warrant was served at his home and vehicle.

Prosecutors say he fled the country before authorities could reach him.

One more brilliant idea from the tutor

For reasons unknown, the keylogging tutor Lai returned to the U.S. but was immediately snagged at the airport. The Orange County District Attorney's office indicated that it will ask no less than $200,000 in bail. Cybercrime is a serious offense.

School administrators ultimately punished 11 students believed to have been involved in the grade-changing scheme, meaning that they were at least aware of Lai's intent and complied. It is reported that Lai befriended students by hanging out with them as both a mentor and a friend. School staff, parents, and teachers are all questioning if the school's tutor-driven culture was such a good idea.

Some parents of the 11 expelled students argued that expulsion was too aggressive as they had been victimized by an adult who they had been told to trust. It seems that high school parents are always ticked about something. What do you think? Is expulsion of students for attempted cheating too harsh. Is almost six years in jail too long a sentence for swapping out a few grades? I am all ears. Leave your comments below.

Oh yeah. With a name like Lai, perhaps someone should have seen this coming?

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