PENSACOLA, Fla. - In the Florida Panhandle, state law enforcement officers said an assistant principal and her teen daughter are facing charges after hacking into students’ accounts to cast votes in order for the 17-year-old to be crowned as homecoming queen.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced they arrested 50-year-old Laura Rose Carroll and her daughter. Both live in Pensacola. Investigators said they cast 246 votes in Tate High School’s homecoming court election.
The teen was named homecoming queen back in October. In the following month, FDLE began investigating when the school district contacted the state to report the unauthorized access into student accounts.
Investigators said Carroll, who is an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, and her daughter, a Tate High student, accessed students’ FOCUS accounts. They said Carroll had district-level access.
FOCUS users are required to change their password every 45 days, however, Carrolls’ annual training was up to date, FDLE said.
In October, the hundreds of votes were flagged since 117 votes originated from the same IP address within a short period of time, officials said. FDLE agents said the unauthorized access was linked to Carroll’s cell phone and computers associated with her home.
According to FDLE, some students reported that the daughter described using her mother’s FOCUS account to cast the votes.
In addition, agents said they discovered Carroll access 372 high school records, and 339 of those were Tate High students.
Carroll and her daughter both face charges of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices; unlawful use of a two-way communications device; criminal use of personally identifiable information; and conspiracy to commit these offenses.
Carroll was arrested Monday and taken to Escambia County Jail. Her daughter was taken to Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center.