Update: Lacey Fowler given jail time for Cuesta data breach
Update posted Feb. 2:
Fowler given 350 days in jail, four years probation
–On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Judge Donald G. Umhofer sentenced Lacey Fowler, 30, to 350 days in county jail, following her plea on Jan. 4 of no contest to felony identity theft, also known as unlawful access of computer data.
While an employee of Cuesta College, Fowler stole personal-identifying information of current and former employees. Fowler opened up credit card accounts in their names. Although their credit history was damaged, it appears that no victims have directly lost any money.
Fowler will be placed on probation for four years, and she must participate in residential drug treatment following her release from jail. In a separate case, Ms. Fowler’s husband, Chad Fowler, was also convicted by his plea of no contest to felony possessing methamphetamine for sale, with an admission of a “weight enhancement.”
On March 30, 2016, he will be sentenced to five years in prison.
This case was investigated by the Cuesta College Police Department. Deputy District Attorney Craig Van Rooyen was the assigned prosecutor on this case.
Update posted July 15, 2015:
Lacey Fowler was wanted on warrant, found with meth, now held on $727,000 bail
– Update July 14, 2015: Paso Robles police released additional details today about Monday’s arrest of wanted suspect Lacey Folwer, 29, of Paso Robles. Police responded to the 100 block of Capital Hill on Monday at 12:50 p.m. after receiving a tip that she was in the area. The tipster knew Fowler was wanted by police for her involvement in recent high profile crimes.
The first arriving officer located a vehicle described by the tipster and began looking for Fowler who was attempting to hide near the vehicle. Fowler then attempted to run from the officer and elude arrest, police report. The officer quickly caught up with Fowler and attempted to take her into custody. However, Fowler continued to resist arrest by attempting to strike the officer with an elbow. The officer was able to take Fowler into custody without either person sustaining an injury.
The vehicle Fowler was associated with was towed to the police station and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office obtained a search warrant for the car. As a result of the search officers located .3 grams of suspected methamphetamine in a purse they linked to Fowler.
Cuesta College Officers subsequently transported Fowler to the SLO County Jail where she was booked for her warrants and the following new charges:
• Penal Code 148(a)(1) – Delaying or obstructing an officer.
• Health and Safety Code 11377(a) – Possession of a controlled substance.
Former Cuesta employee re-arrested after failing to appear in court
On Monday at about 1 p.m., former Cuesta College Human Resources Analyst Lacey Fowler was arrested by Paso Robles police officers on the 100 block of Capital Hill Road in Paso Robles. She was then transported to the Paso Robles Police Department where she was taken to the San Luis Obispo County Jail by Cuesta College police officers. Fowler was booked for several outstanding warrants and is being held on $727,000 worth of warrants and charges. This second arrest comes after an additional arrest warrant was issued last week after she failed to appear in court to face charges against her.
On May 31, Fowler allegedly downloaded and emailed herself personal information of Cuesta College employees. On June 9, the Cuesta College Human Resources Department discovered the unauthorized download and reported it to the Cuesta College Police Department, which immediately began an investigation with the assistance of the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.
On June 11, Cuesta College alerted all current employees to the information breach via email and mailed letters to the home addresses of all current and former employees affected. The information downloaded included names, social security numbers, date of birth, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
On June 17, Fowler was arrested and, on June 18, charged with a felony count of improperly accessing computer data. Fowler posted bail and failed to appear at her arraignment on July 6, prompting an arrest warrant to be issued. After new charges were brought against Fowler on July 9, her bail was set at $375,000. Her husband, Chad Lee Fowler, 34, was arrested last month for having $27,000 in drugs while police issued a search warrant on his wife.
In response to the current investigation into the information breach, Cuesta College took action by recommending a fraud protection vendor to the Cuesta College Board of Trustees at the July 1, 2015 Board meeting. The board unanimously voted to enter into a one-year contract with LifeLock, a leading provider of proactive identity theft protection services. The contract went into effect July 2 and notifications with enrollment instructions were emailed and mailed to all individuals affected who will have sixty days to enroll.