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Former Rich South student body president charged with computer fraud at U of I

Lavell Brown shown spring 2012 when he was senior Rich South High School.  |  Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media

Lavell Brown, shown in spring 2012, when he was a senior at Rich South High School. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 15, 2013 11:30AM



A former Rich South High School student body president is facing felony charges after hacking into financial aid computers at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he is a freshman, police said.

Lavell Perez Brown Jr., 19, of Matteson, was charged with computer fraud and computer tampering on Dec. 7. Brown was arrested after police subpoenaed information from two area banks.

The information showed Brown accessed the accounts of three University of Illinois students who were his friends and changed their profiles to direct about $2,300 worth of financial aid money into an account created by him.

“It wasn’t like it was a huge compromise of any University of Illinois computer systems,” University of Illinois police Capt. Roy Acree said. “It was him being able to obtain his friends’ information.”

Brown, who graduated from Rich South in the spring, was profiled in the SouthtownStar in April. He told a reporter he spent almost 13 hours a days at the school, participating in a total of 24 different activities.

He ran track, tutored students and worked as the school’s stage production manager. Every morning at Rich South, Brown used to set up video presentations that showed clips of football games and band concerts, student interviews and academic achievements.

“I’ve always had a drive to do more than what was expected of me,” he said at the time. “I felt a lot of pride in doing more than everybody else.”

Brown incorporated the video screens into his student body president campaign, preparing a PowerPoint presentation complete with a 3D replication of the rarely used room next to the cafeteria and his proposal to turn it into a school store, which he did upon being elected.

Prinicipal Cynthia Hudson said Brown’s abilities were remarkable.

“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this young man is talented,’” she said. “He just wowed the student body, the teachers and the faculty.”

His work at the school also wowed colleges, he told the SouthtownStar. In the end, he choose to attend the University of Illinois, where he works as an Illini Union Event Services representative and a student technician for the school’s applied technology department, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Brown said in the article he planned to become a civil servant after graduating college.

“Definitely when I turn 35, I’m going to start a political career and see if there is something in America I can change,” he said.



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