Police Recorded Student-Tutor Conversation in Newport Beach Cheating Scandal

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tutor-sought

The Newport Beach Police Department provided this photo of Timothy Lance Lai, 28, of Irvine. He was sought in an alleged computer cheating scandal at O.C. high school.

A private tutor accused of hacking into a Newport Beach high school’s computer system to boost student grades freely discussed the alleged scheme with an involved student during a phone call that was recorded by police, according to school documents.

During the recorded conversation, Timothy Lance Lai, 29, allegedly implicated himself in the cheating scheme and identified students who were involved in the scandal, the documents show.

A hearing is scheduled Friday that could determine whether the recording would be allowed as evidence in Lai’s trial. The former tutor — who vanished when the cheating scandal exploded in 2013 and then was arrested last year at Los Angeles International Airport after returning from South Korea — is facing burglary and computer fraud charges. He faces a potential prison sentence of more than five years in prison.

The conversation between Lai and the student was detailed in an addendum to an official statement the student submitted by email on Dec. 27, 2013, to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and was obtained this week by the Daily Pilot through the California Public Records Act.

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