An assistant principal at a Florida high school and her teen daughter have been arrested after authorities say they accessed student accounts to rig a homecoming queen vote.
Laura Rose Carroll, 50, and her 17-year-old daughter were arrested Monday on charges including 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, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
FDLE officials said their investigation began in November 2020 when the Escambia County School District contacted authorities to report unauthorized access into hundreds of student accounts.
Investigators discovered that Carroll, an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, and her daughter, a student at Tate High School, had accessed the student accounts through Carroll's district level access of the school board’s FOCUS program, which is the school district’s student information system, officials said.
In October 2020, hundreds of votes for Tate High's Homecoming Court voting were flagged as fraudulent, with 117 votes originating from the same IP address within a short period of time, officials said.
Investigators uncovered evidence of unauthorized access to FOCUS linked to Carroll’s cell phone as well as computers associated with their residence, with a total of 246 votes cast for the Homecoming Court.
Authorities said multiple students reported that the daughter described using her mother's FOCUS account to cast votes.
The investigation also found that beginning August 2019, Carroll’s FOCUS account accessed 372 high school records and 339 of those were of Tate High School students, officials said.
Carroll was arrested and booked into the Escambia County Jail, with a bond set at $8500. Her daughter was taken into custody and transferred to the Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center. Attorney information wasn't available.