Case # 14HF2720
Date: March 20, 2015
OCDA FILES ADDITIONAL CHARGES AGAINST TUTOR FOR ILLEGALLY CHANGING STUDENT GRADES AT CORONA DEL MAR HIGH SCHOOL
*Defendant is accused of fleeing the country during the investigation
NEWPORT BEACH – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) has filed additional charges today against a tutor previously charged with crimes related to illegally changing grades of students at Corona Del Mar High School during the 2012 and 2013 school year. Timothy Lance Lai, 29, is additionally charged with 16 felony counts of computer access and fraud along with the previous charges of one felony count of second degree commercial burglary and four felony counts of computer access and fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 16 years and four months in jail. Lai pleaded not guilty to the new charges today and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on April 24, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department H-1, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
At the time of the crimes, Lai was a private tutor for students who attended Corona Del Mar High School. In 2013, Lai is accused of breaking into Corona Del Mar High School and inserting a USB device into a teacher’s computer that was able to record the teacher’s keystrokes.
Between April 1, 2013, and June 14, 2013, Lai is accused of accessing the school’s network using the information from recorded keystrokes and changing the grades of three students from two different teachers.
On June 14, 2013, one of the teachers discovered that grades for students had been changed and contacted school administrators. The school administrators contacted Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) who investigated this case. In December 2013, during the investigation, another USB device was discovered on a third teacher’s computer.
Shortly after the investigation began, the defendant is accused of fleeing the country. NBPD arrested the defendant when he arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport on Oct. 6, 2014.
Based on further investigation by NBPD and the OCDA, Lai is accused of accessing the school’s network using the information from recorded keystrokes and changing the grades of students on 16 separate occasions between Jan. 28, 2013, and June 14, 2013.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.