South Florida Teen Charged After Trying to Change Grades

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It’s almost the exact same plot as the beginning of the 1980’s movie “WarGames,” but unlike the movie, this time an 18-year-old would-be computer hacker is facing serious charges. (Published Friday, May 2, 2014)

    An 18-year-old would-be computer hacker is facing serious charges after trying to help students get better grades for money.

    Sources tell NBC 6 that the teenager, Jose Bautista, is accused of trying to change the grades. The 18-year-old was arrested by Miami-Dade County Schools Police.

    Sources said Bautista was trying to change the grades in exchange for money. Sources told NBC 6 that Bautista is a student at Michael Krop Senior High School.

    "If it is true, it's definitely not fair to the rest of the students," said senior Brett Curtis. "We have almost 3,000 kids here who come to school every day and work hard for every single grade that they earn."

    Curtis, who leads the school's debate team, bristled at the thought of Bautista's alleged crime.

    "From our valedictorian to the bottom, we have some amazing kids and this is definitely not representative of Krop as a whole," Curtis said.

    Other students shared Curtis' shock.

    "Changing people's grades? I mean, it's not really fair to the people who really try," said student Mayan Derhy. "A lot of kids are in AP classes and the try really hard to get the grades that they get. If you're just gonna be lazy and change your grade, that's not what learning is about."

    Parents were also surprised, but felt confident the incident was a one-time thing.

    "I'm sorry that it happened, but I know that these are super smart kids here and young people are young people. I don't know that child and I'm sorry that he did that."

    Bautista has been charged with four counts of intellectual property crimes for modifying a program and four counts of modifying computer user data. All eight crimes are felonies.

    In his first court appearance Friday, Bautista was granted bond, but was ordered to wear a GPS monitor and was placed on house arrest.

    MIami-Dade Public Schools sent NBC 6 a statement about the crime: "The school district takes incidents like this very seriously. In addition to the arrest and ongoing criminal investigation, the Code of Student Conduct provides for corrective strategies up to and including recommendation for expulsion."