A former student candidate at California State University San Marcos was arrested yesterday for attempting to manipulate votes, according to officials.
Matthew Weaver, who ran for president of the Associated Students last year, is suspected of casting hundreds of fake votes.
Weaver used "key-swiping" technology to steal user-names and passwords from other students, according to a criminal complaint.
The FBI led a yearlong investigation of Weaver on suspicion of wire fraud and access device fraud.
Last year, Weaver had four friends run for vice president positions. He then allegedly cast hundreds of online votes for himself and his friends. But just hours before the voting ended, college employees found evidence of the alleged fraud.
If the plan had succeeded, Weaver and his friends would have received a total stipend of $36,000 for their work in the student government.
A spokesperson for the FBI said this case sends a strong message about computer hacking.
“They may think that that's not a big thing,” said the FBI’s Darrell Foxworth. “It won't get them in trouble. And I'm here to tell you that it can get you in trouble. It can create big problems for you.”
Weaver was also charged with unauthorized access of a computer. He appeared in federal court Friday where a federal judge set his bond at 20 thousand dollars, and ordered him to return to court later this month.
NBC 7 San Diego could not reach Weaver for comment and a CSUSM spokesperson declined to speak about the situation because the FBI’s investigation is ongoing.