Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Coto de Caza Teen Charged with Breaking Into School to Cheat

Coto de Caza Teen Charged with Breaking Into School to Cheat

June 17, 2008

According to the OCDA’s office, two Tesoro High School seniors have been charged with hacking into the school computer system and changing grades to better their chances of college admission after breaking in to the high school late at night.

Omar Khan, 18, Coto de Caza, is charged with 34 felony counts of altering a public record, 11 felony counts of stealing and secreting a public record, seven felony counts of computer access and fraud, six felony counts of burglary, four felony counts of identity theft, three felony counts of altering a book of records, two felony counts of receiving stolen property, one felony count of conspiracy, and one felony count of attempted altering of a public record. He faces a maximum sentence of 38 years and four months in prison if convicted.

Co-defendant Tanvir Singh, 18, Ladera Ranch, is charged with one felony count each of conspiracy, burglary, computer access and fraud, and attempted altering of a public record. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison if convicted. Khan was arrested today and is being held on $50,000 bail.

Khan is expected to be arraigned Thursday, June 19, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach. A warrant has been issued for Singh, who is expected to turn himself in tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach for arraignment.

Between Jan. 23, 2008, and May 20, 2008, Kahn is accused of unlawfully breaking and entering into locked rooms at Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, where he was a senior, on several occasions late at night and on weekends to access school computers to change his grades. He is accused of altering current test scores from Advanced Placement (AP) classes and school records from previous semesters, often changing grades of "C," "D," or "F" to "A." He is accused of stealing personal log-in information from teachers to gain access to their computers and grades. He is accused of primarily changing his own grades, and altering the permanent transcript grades of 12 other students.

On Friday, April 18, 2008, Khan is accused of cheating in his English class on a test. The teacher who caught Khan cheating took his test, gave him a failing grade, and gave the test to the Assistant Principal. That weekend, Khan is accused of breaking into the locked office of the Assistant Principal and stealing the test back in an attempt to conceal the evidence that he had cheated.

On April 17, 2008, Khan is accused of unlawfully breaking and entering into a locked room at Tesoro High School late at night and accessing a Registrar's computer using a stolen staff member's user name and password to access the Capistrano Unified School District grade database. He is accused of changing a series of grades and installing spyware on the computer to allow him to access the system from other locations.

At approximately 1:00 a.m. on April 21, 2008, Khan is accused of unlawfully breaking and entering into a locked room at Tesoro High School and changing the grades on his transcripts to increase his grade point average to help his chances on college applications. A few hours later at the beginning of the school day, Khan is accused of requesting a copy of his official transcripts in order to appeal a denial of admission to the University of California for the fall semester. Late that night, Khan is accused of breaking into the school again, changing additional grades, and backdating the date and time stamp on the grade changes to cover up his crimes.

School administrators alerted law enforcement after noticing a discrepancy in Khan's grades after the defendant requested a copy of his official transcripts. Subsequent investigation revealed that Khan was in possession of original tests, test questions and answers, and copies of his altered grades. Khan is accused stealing master copies of tests, some of which were e-mailed to dozens of AP students.

On May 19, 2008, Singh, also a Tesoro High School senior, is accused of exchanging several text messages with Khan detailing how the two planned to break into the school that evening to steal a test from a specific teacher in preparation for an exam the following day. Singh and Khan are accused of meeting at the school, breaking into a classroom, and fleeing the scene before accessing the test after a night custodian found them attempting to access a teacher's computer.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact District Attorney Investigator Rick Bradley at (714)347-8721.

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