Stanford Student Admits to E-stalking Boyfriend

She is accused of opening his email and canceling his plane reservation.

A Stanford student accused of digitally stalking her boyfriend pled no contest to three of the fifteen charges against her Friday.

Menlo Park Police Department records show that Erin Nicole Umberg, 28, was charged with hacking into her ex boyfriend’s computer and “causing significant harm” to him.

“Email mostly,” said Karen Guidotti, chief criminal deputy for San Mateo County.

“She was hacking into his email, cancelling his plane reservations to places, and sending emails as him,” Guidotti said. 

Her ex was a 24-year-old Stanford man who had a new girlfriend. Law enforcement officials say that the new girlfriend was targeted in digital attacks.

“She was applying for residencies with medical schools,” Guidotti said. “Umberg is alleged to have sent inappropriate materials to the people who worked at the schools she was applying to,” Guidotti said.

California law banned identity fraud via email starting January 2011.  Each violation can result in a maximum fine of $1,000 or a year in jail, or both, according to Section 528.5 of California’s Penal Code.

Umberg’s charges included two counts of unauthorized use of another person’s identity, two counts of stalking, and seven counts of unauthorized copying of computer data. 

Her attorneys pleaded no contest to disrupting computer services and altering computer data Friday afternoon.  Because many of the charges reflect the same conduct, it is likely that she won't serve more than three years in jail, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Her plea landed her a deal with the prosecution team, who gave her the promise that she wouldn’t spend more than six months in jail. She will not contest accessing his computer to obtain and disrupt data. 

She has no history of digital crimes and is represented by Jennifer Keller and Charles J. Smith.

The case was continued to March 22, 2013.

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