Today is judgment day for Marcus Barrington, the former Florida A&M University student convicted of illegally changing the grades and the residency status for dozens of students.
Barrington sentence is scheduled to be at the Federal District Court in Tallahassee at 1:30 p.m., following his conviction on multiple charges this spring.
In a unanimous decision in March, a 12-member jury found Barrington guilty on five counts of conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, and wire fraud.
Barrington, 23, and two other former FAMU students, Lawrence Secrease, 22, and Christopher Jacquette, 27, were indicted last October for changing 650 grades that affected 90 students. Some students had failing grades changed to A’s and students who had out-of-state tuition had their residency changed, which lowered their tuition fees.
FAMU lost more than $100,000 as a result of the computer changes. During the trial, Assistant U.S Attorney Eric Mountain, who prosecuted the case, said early detection of the security breach saved the university from losing more money.
“Had the investigators not caught it when they did…the university could have suffered massive loss, massive injury,” Mountain said at the time.
Following the trial, Mountain said he felt that Barrington’s attitude and lack of accountability for the grade changes may hurt him on sentencing day.
“There is no question,” said Mountain regarding a possible harsher sentence for Barrington. “Not because he took the stand, but because he chose not to accept responsibility at any point. In the federal system, acceptance of responsibility is a significant consideration for the court in assessing punishment.”
The judge also cited Barrington’s lack of remorse in revoking his bail and keeping him in custody for six months until his sentencing, which has been rescheduled several times.
Barrington could face five years for unauthorized access and a minimum of two years for each count of identity theft. He could also face up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy.
During his five-day trial, Barrington took the stand and denied any wrongdoing.
His defense attorney argued that no fingerprints were taken when evidence was collected during the investigation.
According to the federal indictment, between June and December 2007, the three men installed keystroke loggers on university computers in the “registrar’s office to access and alter student records stored on the People Soft” system.
On Dec. 2, 2008, Jacquette entered a guilty plea to the indictment alleging that he had conspired with Secrease and Barrington, to hack into the FAMU system to change grades and residency status. The federal courts considered Secrease and Jacquette’s guilty pleas and their court testimony as part of their sentencing.
Secrease was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison, four months probation and a $300 fine, while Jacquette was sentenced to 22 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.