Former OC Student Gets Sentenced For Computer Hacking, Grade Fixing

SANTA ANA (CBS) —  A former Tesoro High student pleaded guilty Monday to hacking into school computers to change grades and cheat on tests three years ago.

Omar Shahid Khan, 21, of Coto de Caza is expected to be sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years of probation, and 500 hours of community service.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals is also expected to order Khan to pay about $14,900 in restitution.

Khan pleaded guilty to two felony counts of commercial burglary and a felony count each of altering public records, stealing or removing public records and attempting to steal or remove public records.

Dozens of related felony counts were dismissed as part of a plea deal offered by Goethals.

Goethals set sentencing for Aug. 26 so Khan would have time to complete all of the terms of the plea deal by then, his attorney Carol Ellen Lavacot said. At sentencing, Goethals will consider a motion to have the felonies reduced to misdemeanors, Lavacot said.

Khan decided to take Goethals’ plea bargain offer because he did not want many of his classmates at Tesoro High School in Las Flores and others to have to return to court to testify during a trial, Lavacot said.

“He hurts so badly for what he’s put his family through,” Lavacot said, adding Khan also is sorry for letting down his former teachers and coaches.

Co-defendant Tanvir Singh, 21, of Ladera Ranch, pleaded guilty on Sept. 9, 2008, to a felony count of attempting to steal or remove public records and a misdemeanor count of computer access and fraud. Singh was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and three years of formal probation.

About 10 students were involved in the cheating and grade changing, but most of them had their cases dealt with in juvenile court, Lavacot said.

“Omar and Tanvir had just turned 18, so but for the fact of their age they would have been handled with that safety net called juvenile court, but they were adults so there was no safety net,” Lavacot said.

Khan broke into classrooms and administrative offices at the high school several times from Jan. 23, 2008, to May 19, 2008, so he could steal tests and hack into computers to change his grades, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Khan volunteers his time helping orphaned children and coaching underprivileged children on the golf course, Lavacot said. Khan hopes to either work in the field of psychology or become a pediatrician, Lavacot said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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