Student faces federal charges, accused of trying to rig Cal State San Marcos election

Matthew Weaver is editor of 'The Koala' newspaper

SAN DIEGO - Nearly a year after beginning their investigation, federal authorities arrested a former candidate for Cal State San Marcos student body president.

In March 2012, Matthew Weaver was arrested on charges of identity theft and election fraud after being accused of hacking into campus computers.

At the time, officials said the school's Internet security department detected "unusual activity taking place" on a campus computer Weaver was logged in on. School officials later determined that the election had been "compromised."

Weaver was released from custody shortly thereafter, but federal authorities continued their probe into Weaver's activities.

After gathering evidence, Weaver was arrested this week and charged with wire fraud, access device fraud and computer fraud. He faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

A federal complaint alleges Weaver tried to win the student body presidency and four vice-presidencies for himself and his fraternity brothers. The positions are paid positions and they stood to make $36,000 from stipends of the combined positions.

Weaver had a promising future at the school, and he was well known as the editor of the controversial publication "The Koala."

On Friday, fellow CSUSM students reacted to the federal charges against Weaver.

"Why would you put your academic career on the line and your future on the line for something so petty?" said CSUSM junior Jennifer Ernhart.

Federal prosecutors said Weaver used a device called a key logger, which records all the keystrokes on the computer it's attached to. Prosecutors said the identities of 740 students were stolen, and the information was used to hack Facebook and email accounts.

Despite the serious charges against him, some students said the punishment shouldn’t be too severe.

"I don't know if he should be put in jail for this because it was just a school election," said Ernhart.

Weaver's mother, who was in court, told 10News her son has no previous criminal record and was a good student on the dean's list.

Weaver recently enrolled in school again, but she wouldn't say where.

Weaver could be freed if he pays the $20,000 bond.

He was ordered by the court to turn in his passport.

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