Florida Mom and Teen Facing Over a Decade in Prison

Emily Grover and Laura Carroll

via scary mommy

Emily Grover and Laura Carroll

In a peculiar twist of events, a mother and daughter duo from Florida is facing up to sixteen years in prison. Their supposed crime? It involves rigging a home-coming queen contest. Through a chain of bizarre happenings, Emily Grover, at only 18, and Laura Carroll, age 50, might end up getting locked behind bars until the year 2037. 

Suspicions arose quickly when a member of the staff of Tate High School got a notification of possible fraud. Supposedly, a total of 117 votes for homecoming queen was traced back to the same IP address, which would later be traced back to Carroll. However, the school proceeded with tradition, ignoring the possible fraud, and Grover was crowned homecoming queen. 

The shady circumstances of the votes began an investigation, which escalated quickly. Carroll’s phone and private computer had a total of 246 votes cast for the same contest, all on behalf of different students, investigators found. Being an assistant principal in the Escambia County School District, Carroll had access to student files. More specifically, she was able to log into FOCUS, the computer program used by the school district to record student information — student IDs, birth dates, test scores, general grades, disciplinary actions, medical histories, and emergency contacts– which in itself isn’t that surprising, and isn’t a bad thing, since she was the assistant principal. FOCUS also gave students the ability to access an application called Election Runner, used to cast votes for homecoming queen. The voting lasted from October 28 to October 30. 

Grover, who was only seventeen at the time of the crime but is being charged as an adult, denies having rigged the contest, as does her mother. The evidence, however, seems to be piled against them. When other students from Tate High School were interviewed, the duo’s reputation fell even more.

“I have known that Emily Grover logs into her mom’s school account in order to access grades and test scores…” an anonymous student said in their statement to law enforcement. “…She also knows that if she logs into her mom’s account at Tate it will ping that Laura Grover signed in at Tate High School. She looks up all of our group of friends’ grades and makes comments about how she can find out our test scores all of the time.”

Grover and Carroll, having refused a no-jail plea, remain adamant that they had not rigged the contest. Grover and her mother are facing charges on multiple counts. In addition to the misdemeanor of conspiracy to commit the crimes that they did, the duo faces consequences for felony offenses against computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices, and users of computers, along with felony illegal use of personally identifiable information and unlawful usage of a communication device. Grover admitted to having looked at other student’s grades, but denies having rigged anything. Facing sixteen years of prison, Grover and Carroll continue to stand their ground.