Authorities in Pahrump, Nev., have arrested 13 people as part of an investigation into students’ hacking into a school computer system to change class grades.
The Nye County Sheriff’s Office said Tyler Coyner, 19, allegedly gained unauthorized access to a password for the Nye County school district’s computer system while he was a senior there last school year.
Coyner, now a college student, then allegedly solicited high school student customers to pay him to change grades in the system, officials said. Authorities believe Coyner changed grades for 12 students over the course of two semesters.
The sheriff’s office also said Coyner changed his own grades so he could be recognized as the Pahrump Valley High School salutatorian.
Coyner, Matthew Miller, and Nicholas Ramoser, all 19 years old, were arrested along with 10 juveniles. The 13 face charges of altering computer data, conspiracy to commit a crime, burglary, and grand larceny.
The juveniles were turned over to Nye County Juvenile Probation. Coyner, Miller, and Ramoser were booked into the Nye County Detention Center.
The investigation into the grade-changing charges also led to charges that Coyner, Miller, and one of the arrested juveniles broke into a Pahrump Wal-Mart and stole a flat-screen television to take with them to college.
Nye County officials worked with the University of Nevada, Reno, police department to search Coyner and Miller’s dorm room, where the stolen television was recovered, officials said. During the dorm room search, authorities also found several fake identification cards.
School district officials are trying to correct grades that had been changed. Once that is complete, the district will notify colleges about students who were accepted with incorrect grades.
A version of this article appeared in the June 15, 2011 edition of Digital Directions as Nev. Students Accused of Hacking Network to Change Grades