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Crime

Jeopardy Champ, 47, Allegedly Hacked College Co-Workers' Emails

Michigan State Police

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A college professor and former record holder on the television game show Jeopardy has been arrested on accusations she hacked into her colleague’s email accounts, PEOPLE confirms.

Stephanie Jass, 47, of Tecumseh, Michigan, set a record in 2012 for the most wins by a woman on the long-running game show. (The record has since been eclipsed.) She now faces up to seven years in prison after she was arrested and charged with two felony counts for unauthorized access to a computer, computer program or network and using a computer to commit a crime, the Daily Telegram of Adrian reports.

Stephanie Jass on ‘Jeopardy’ in 2012

On Tuesday, she appeared in Lenawee County District Court on Tuesday for her arraignment. She waived a reading of the charges. She has not yet entered a plea, according to the court clerk at Lenawee County District Court.

The judge continued her $20,000 personal recognizance bond, according to court records.

The alleged hacking took place on April 25, the arrest warrant states, according to the Detroit Free Press

Authorities have not elaborated on a possible motive.

The Michigan State Police Cyber Command Center began investigating Jass after being contacted by staff at Adrian College who said they believed the history professor may have accessed several college accounts without authorization, it said in a press release obtained by PEOPLE.

A statement from Adrian College thanked the Michigan State Police and the Lenawee County Prosecutor’s Office “for their thorough investigation and for ultimately bringing charges in this [alleged] crime,” according to the Telegram.

The statement referred to Jass as a “former faculty member,” but did not state when she stopped working at the college.

Stephanie Jass at Adrian College in 2012
Mike Dickie/The Daily Telegram/AP

In 2012, Jass set the record for the longest winning streak by a woman on Jeopardy when she won seven games in a row. Two years later, Julia Collins beat Jass’s record when she won 20 games in a row.

But Jass’s $147,570 winnings landed her in the top 15 winners in the history of the show, MLive.com reports.

If convicted of the charge of using a computer to commit a crime, Jass faces seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine along with the cost of prosecuting the case, the Detroit Free Press reports. She faces five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if she is convicted of the charge for unauthorized access of a computer.

Jass is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 12.

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Lenawee County Prosecutor Burke Castleberry Jr. explained how authorities believe Jass was allegedly able to hack into co-worker’s email accounts. “Basically there was a technology incident at Adrian College that caused the college to send out a campus-wide reset,” he said. “When they did that there was a temporary password. Anyone could have gotten into anyone else’s e-mail at that point.”

In an interview with the website Girls Like You and Me, Jass talked about how she is a cabaret performer who has performed shows about her stint on Jeopardy.

When talking about achieving goals, she told the outlet, “Life doesn’t always give you tiaras…If you want one, go out and get one.”

Calls to Jass’s attorney, the prosecutor and the college were not immediately returned.

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