The FBI is investigating allegations that 700 students had their identities stolen from computers at Cal State San Marcos.
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10News learned the FBI's Cyber Crime Division, which investigates computer intrusion and cyber fraud, has now joined the case. The North County Times reported the probe was sparked by concerns that a man, Matt Weaver, running for student body president CSU San Marcos may have planted devices to capture student computer IDs and passwords.
Students cast their votes by computer and authorities are investigating whether IDs were stolen to alter election results.
"For us to get involved in an investigation, oftentimes what we're looking at is a reasonable indication that a violation of federal law has occurred," explained FBI Special Agent Darrel Foxworth.
Foxworth would not confirm the division is investigating Weaver, but campus police arrested the business student on March 15 after school computer technicians said they noticed unusual computer activity that they tracked back to him.
Police said they found Weaver with a device that can be used to steal passwords.
Weaver, who was arrested on suspicion of election fraud, identity theft and unlawful access to a computer, was released on bail and was not charged.
"Initially, when we found out that this had happened, we had locked the student usernames and password accounts that had been compromised," said university spokesperson Margaret Lutz-Chantung.
Students were alerted to the breach.
"I didn't hear too many people that were upset that he got caught," said student Ryan Preston.
Weaver is considered by some a controversial figure because he is the editor of the unsanctioned campus newspaper known as The Koala.
In one UC San Diego edition of the paper, a doctored photo of a female student with male genitals near her face was published.
Sara Aguire, a friend of Weaver's, said he's misunderstood.
"We have a great school and he really wanted to take a leadership role," said Aguire.
However, others said that is not the kind of leader they want.
"The person that wins should be elected for the right reason and not for, you know, cheating," said Preston.
The university said the incident forced them to cancel the mid-March student election and start from scratch. The election has been rescheduled for May right before final exams.
"Even though, again, it's going to be during finals week, I'll want to vote more," said student Allison Bryant.
After the FBI completes its investigation, it will meet with the U.S. Attorney's Office to determine if federal laws were broken.
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