Town Square

Stanford grad pleads no contest in stalking case

Original post made on Jan 29, 2013

People say it's really hard to completely delete information from a computer. Erin Umberg, 28, is finding that the district attorney's office believes in that truism. She pleaded no contest on Friday, Jan. 25, for computer misuse dating back to 2007 that targeted at least two Menlo Park residents.

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Posted by stanfordfac
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm

As a victim of a nearly identical crime several years ago, i am happy to see this case prosecuted. These malicious actions can destroy reputations and be incredibly stressful for the victims. In my case I had no idea who was doing this until we were able to identify the IP address of the company it was sent from through which i was able to identify the individual. It's annoying to see her attorney basically claim that the perpetrator was the victim, what BS. If that is the case, plead not guilty and let it go to trial.

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Posted by fedup
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:18 am

Is Stanford going to revoke her degree? I feel it would be the right thing to do, after all, do they want to put their 'seal of approval' saying that this person is a capable, trustworthy individual when she is obviously more interested in personal vendettas?

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Posted by Degrees of guilt
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 30, 2013 at 8:38 am

The last I heard, a Stanford degree (or any college degree) is just an indication of completion of required academic work. This woman apparently did complete her academic work. The criminal record associated with this transgression will unfortunately follow her around in her professional life. Revoking the degree would be too extreme. Maybe there is some nuance here I'm not catching, like she committed these acts on Stanford computers on campus.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 30, 2013 at 10:13 am

The victim was a Stanford student, so presumably she was hacking his Stanford-owned accounts.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 30, 2013 at 10:19 am

This has not been a good month for current and former Stanford students. In addition to this woman, another Stanford woman and her parents were busted for being a part of a burglary ring at the Stanford Shopping Center. And the Kwame Harris (Stanford class of 2003) incident in Menlo Park was just made public.

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a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 9:02 pm


This article contains false and misleading information. To correct the record, Ms. Umberg's convictions are misdemeanors.

These events occurred 7 years ago. She pled no contest to two charges of disrupting computer services, and one count of altering computer data. The other charges were dropped because there was no evidence to support them. Ms. Umberg never "hacked" a medical residency application program and the Court found "no nexus" between Ms. Umberg's conduct and the medical residency of the other party.

In a 2012 letter to defense counsel from the District Attorney's office, the Deputy DA responsible for the case admitted that Mr. Serrano's comments were without any basis:
"As we have previously discussed, Al Serrato's discussion with the papers is one I was not privy to, and he has no knowledge of the case directly. Nor do the news reporters. ... In other words, this is a discovery request for something that does not exist and which you have been told does not exist."
The letter was in response to defense discovery request for any evidence or information supporting the false statements in the news article.

Ms. Umberg is currently a law student and has been advised that her actions in 2007 and expunged misdemeanors will not prevent her from becoming a member of the State Bar.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Sounds like she'll make a great attorney! Look at all that real life experience in dealing with the law that she has. Many other law students lack this experience. I am sure it will serve her in the future.

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Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 1, 2014 at 10:13 am

1. Ms. Umberg pleaded no contest to felony disruption of computer services and and misdemeanor altering of computer data in Jan. 2013. She was sentenced in April 2013 to 120 days in county jail and three years of supervised probation.

2. Her attorney, in Oct. 2013, won a motion to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. It did not change her sentence, according to court records.

3. The Almanac reviewed emails provided by Deputy District Attorney Peter Lynch, who prosecuted the case, that were allegedly sent by the defendant to the medical residency program claiming that one victim was inappropriately attempting to influence the residency match process with "her female endowment." One email included an inappropriate photo of the victim allegedly sent to medical programs by the defendant posing as the victim. Mr. Lynch said that the victim, despite winning a prestigious award as a medical student at UCLA, did not match into a residency program at that time. As the residency process is confidential, programs will not comment on why someone was not selected, but the victim and her advisor think the emails made programs wary about accepting her, according to the DDA.