Six days before the 2016 election, Harris and Hiemstra went to Haverford College’s computer lab and logged in using another student’s credentials. They accessed a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). When they attempted to register under the name of Trump’s child, they were stunned to discover an application under that name already existed. Using Google, they successfully guessed most of the answers to a series of challenge questions to reset the password. Stymied four times on one of the security questions, they gave up.
What they didn’t realize was that the Department of Education was monitoring all traffic on the FAFSA site. The failed attempt sent up a red flag. The IRS dispatched federal investigators to Haverford shortly after.
Last month Pulitzer Prize-winning tax journalist David Cay Johnston told the paper “It’s surprising they didn’t catch them until four tries.” They also reported that while Harris was expelled from the college, 22-year-old Hiemstra was allowed to graduate, and both men have pleaded guilty to accessing a computer without authorization and attempting to access a computer without authorization to obtain government information
When sentenced in December, they’ll face a maximum of two years in prison, two years of supervised release, and a $200,000 fine.