Ottawa County Prosecutor won’t press criminal charges on GV student guilty of fake emails

By Anya Zentmeyer | 3/31/13 7:32pm


Prosecuting Attorney Ron Frantz announced that Ottawa County Prosecutors would not charge the Grand Valley Sate University student responsible for a string of emails impersonating university faculty and administrators with criminal charges.

“We searched high and low and there was no criminal statute that we were aware of that was being violated,” Frantz told MLive reporters on Friday, declining to comment further on the case.

Capt. Brandon DeHaan said last week that the police investigation led GVPD officers to a current GVSU student, who confessed to misrepresenting himself in the emails. DeHaan said officers were exploring two different sections of the university’s Student Code – including one on computer usage prohibiting impersonation, and another that prohibits with misrepresentation of oneself as an “official representative of the university without authorization to procure goods or services or to receive a benefit.”

The student responsible had been impersonating administration or faculty members in emails to other specific individuals to set up certain meetings they didn’t make, or to attempt to cancel classes.

DeHaan told the Lanthorn last week that attempts made by the individual to cancel classes had not been successful to the best of his knowledge, but no further information on the content of the emails, or the total number of emails sent sent, has been disclosed to the public at this time.

However, the school’s website states that all official class cancellations or emergency notifications appear on the school’s website and social media outlets.

GVSU spokeswoman Mary Eilleen Lyon released a statement in which she said the university “accepts the decision of the prosecutor not to pursue criminal charges.”

“The university will pursue disciplinary action because the student did violate the Student Code,” she said. “It’s a violation of the code to forge an email making it look like it’s originating from another person, and it’s a violation to misrepresent oneself as an agent of the university.”
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