The Newport Beach Police Department is looking for a private tutor who may have helped Corona del Mar High School honor students hack into school computers.
Timothy Lance Lai, 28, of Irvine, is a “person of interest” in the case where multiple students illegally accessed CdM High's computer system, according to police Sgt. Mark Hamilton.
Hamilton, whose department was informed of the scandal by Newport Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) officials on Tuesday, indicated grades were changed by the student hackers. District officials said separately test answers were obtained as well.
Los Angeles television news stations reported Thursday that Lai allegedly helped students use flash drives to retrieve what they were looking for from school computers. Neither police nor district officials gave an exact number of students suspected of taking part, only indicating it was “several.”
In addition to school discipline, those students could face criminal charges, NMUSD spokeswoman Laura Boss told City News Service. She added there is no evidence school teachers or staff members were involved, and school board member Katrina Foley told the news service it appears so far the hacking was confined to CdM High.
Lai is wanted for questioning but police did not know his whereabouts as of Thursday afternoon. Anyone with information on locating him is asked to call Detective David Syvock at 949.644.3771 or Detective Sergeant Doug Jones at 949.644.3775.