Budding Hedge Fund Manager Arrested In Grade-Fixing Scam

Mar 9 2011 | 10:54am ET

A Nevada high school student with hedge fund dreams didn't even wait to graduate before deploying his entrepreneurial bent. Unfortunately for Tyler Coyner, his business plan didn't pass muster with the authorities.

Coyner, 19, who graduated from Pahrump Valley High School last year—as salutatorian, no less—was arrested and charged with hacking into the school's computer system and changing grades for cash. His own grades, the ones that made him salutatorian with a 4.54 grade point average, he presumably augmented gratis.

Coyner's business allegedly had a dozen clients, who paid Coyner to use the password he had obtained to the grading system on their behalf. Two other adults, Coyner's roommate at the University of Nevada, Reno, and one other, have been charged in the case, along with 10 juveniles. All 13 arrested had their grades changed, according to police, and the investigation continues.

"We're confident that there were others who knew about it," David Boruchowitz of the Nye County Sheriff's Office told Computerworld.

According to police, Coyner jumped into other illicit ventures upon reaching college: In his dorm room were found an allegedly stolen flat-screen television and equipment for making fake driver's licenses.

The arrest throws into serious doubt Coyner's academic dreams, elucidated to the Pahrump Valley Times last year: Two years at Reno, followed by a transfer to the University of Chicago, followed by graduate school in the Ivy League, preferably Harvard University, or, failing that, Stanford University. None of those institutions are known to look kindly upon convictions for conspiracy, theft and computer intrusion.

As for Coyner's final ambition, "He wants to eventually become the manager of a hedge fund"? Stay tuned.

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