A Florida teenager and her mother are facing the prospect of spending serious time behind bars after being accused of an elaborate plot to rig a high school election.
In what sounds like the script of a bad teen movie, Emily Rose Grover and her deputy principal mother, Laura Rose Carroll, allegedly conspired to rig the homecoming court competition.
In the lead up to the end of year dance event, students used an app to vote for a king and queen of the senior year who are announced on the night.
The mother and daughter pair allegedly produced more than 300 fraudulent votes for Emily to be crowned queen, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a press release.
The investigation began in November, when school authorities contacted law enforcement to report unauthorised access to the online accounts of hundreds of students.
While employed as an assistant principal at a primary school in the same county, Ms Carroll accessed the school district’s internal system to cast the fraudulent votes for her daughter, officials said.
There were 117 votes from the same IP address within a short period of time, the investigation found.
The pair now both face multiple felony charges relating to unauthorised access of computer networks and devices.
In a stunning twist, prosecutors announced this week that Emily, who was 17 at the time of the crime but is now 18, will be tried as an adult – raising the prospect of serious jail time.
The teen at the centre of the criminal case even failed to keep the plot a secret amongst her peer group.
Multiple students at the school told investigators that Emily described using her mother’s system access, or of watching her mother access records, for years, the report said.
With the story garnering international headlines, the runner up in the homecoming queen election has given a national TV interview, recalling her distress upon finding out the election was rigged.
Runner-up Ariyana Wyatt, who is also a good friend of Emily, told Good Morning America she didn't believe the rumours at first.
"I did hear rumours, but I didn't really think anything of it until I was brought into the office," she said. "And it all became real."
Both the mum and daughter are currently on bail.
Prosecutors said the pair each face a maximum 16-year sentence.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com