Scholarly woman pleads not guilty to stalking ex, identity theft 

click to enlarge Erin Umberg - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Erin Umberg

This Stanford graduate might have been better off at a school of higher yearning.

Erin Umberg, a 29-year-old who has graduate degrees in molecular physiology and psychology from Tufts and Stanford universities, respectively, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to multiple felony counts for allegedly revenge-stalking her ex-boyfriend after hacking into his computer five years ago.

Prosecutors say the “very intelligent” Umberg — the daughter of former state Assemblyman Tom Umberg and Army Brig. Gen. Robin Umberg — placed a computer program on her ex-lover’s computer and accessed his passwords and also the passwords of two of his friends.

“She sent a series of harassing emails to them and the people they knew,” San Mateo County Assistant District Attorney Al Serrato said Wednesday.

Serrato said one of the ex-lover’s friends, a medical student, had her dream of being accepted into a medical residency dashed at the time after a derogatory email was sent from her hacked account.

But Umberg’s attorney, Charles Smith, denied that the medical student lost her residency bid due to Umberg’s actions, saying the student is currently “doing fine.”

Umberg also allegedly set up phony website accounts in the victims’ names, Serato said, including on Facebook, and Gmail.

The harassment “went on for a series of months,” prosecutors said.

Smith on Wednesday called the charges “unfortunate,” saying his client actually was the victim. Smith declined to elaborate on Umberg’s relationship with the victim, but said Wednesday her alleged actions were “understandable” given what he had done to her.

Smith was particularly disappointed that prosecutors would charge a case that’s five years old.

The delay, prosecutors said, was due to a four-year investigation that included forensic analysis.

Even so, Smith said, Umberg has led an “exemplary life” and has no criminal history. She is currently the assistant director for UC Irvine’s Newkirk Center for Science and Society.

Smith said he will try to get the case thrown out due to the delay in its filing and other legal matters.

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Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015


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