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A mom and teenage daughter find themselves in deep trouble after rigging a homecoming queen vote at a local high school by casting hundreds of fake ballots through student computer accounts, investigators say.
The mother, Laura Rose Carroll, 50, is an assistant principal at an elementary school in the same district. The duo used her school access to input fraudulent votes into the homecoming queen voting system, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Investigators did not name the student as she is a juvenile.
The department was contacted in November 2020 by the Escambia County School District about unauthorized access to hundreds of student accounts.
The investigation showed that Carroll and her daughter, a student at Tate High School, accessed student accounts through the district’s information system. Carroll had district-level access since she was an administrator in the county.
Hundreds of votes for Tate High School’s Homecoming Court were flagged as fraudulent in October 2020. There were 117 votes that came from the same IP address within a short amount of time, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The investigation found evidence of unauthorized access to student accounts linked to Carroll’s cell phone and her home computers. In all, 246 votes were cast for the Homecoming Court on these devices, investigators said.
Even more brazen, several students told investigators the daughter was telling fellow students about using her mother’s account to cast fake votes.
Investigators also discovered that starting in August 2019, Carroll’s account had accessed 372 high school records. Of those, 339 of them were Tate High School students, investigators said.
Carroll and her daughter were both arrested on several counts, which included 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 the offenses.
Carroll was booked into the Escambia County Jail with bond set at $8,500. Her daughter was taken into custody and sent to the Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center.