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In the interest of speed and timeliness, this story is fed directly from the Associated Press newswire and may contain spelling or grammatical errors.

Student arrested for allegedly hacking university computers to derail election

Saturday June 21, 2003

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) A 21-year-old student was arrested for allegedly hacking into a university computer system during student elections to cast hundreds of votes for a made-up candidate he named American Ninja.

Shawn Nematbakhsh, a computer science major at the University of California, Riverside, was arrested Friday for investigation of drug possession and altering computer data without permission.

If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He was being held Saturday on $10,000 bail. Arraignment was set for Tuesday.

School officials said Nematbakhsh cast the 800 votes in April, forcing the university to scrap the election results and hold a new student government election the following month.

Nematbakhsh told police he did it to show the university network was vulnerable, said university spokesman Ricardo Duran.

``I think he made his point, but you might say he went about it in the wrong way,'' Duran said. ``An e-mail to the webmaster might have sufficed.''

Nematbakhsh, who was expected to graduate this year, will be required to appear before a university judicial review board which could expel him, suspend him, require restitution or require him to repeat an academic quarter.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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