FYI 9 years gaol for spammer - now that's what I call quite good! ;)

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by anthonyberet, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. anthonyberet

    anthonyberet Guest

    Nov 14, 1:17 PM (ET)


    LEESBURG, Va. (AP) - As one of the world's most prolific spammers, Jeremy
    Jaynes pumped out at least 10 million e-mails a day with the help of 16
    high-speed lines, the kind of Internet capacity a 1,000-employee company
    would need.

    Jaynes' business was remarkably lucrative; prosecutors say he grossed up to
    $750,000 per month. If you have an e-mail account, chances are Jaynes tried
    to get your attention, pitching software, pornography and work-at-home

    The eight-day trial that ended in his conviction this month shed light on
    the operations of a 30-year-old former purveyor of physical junk mail who
    worked with minimal assistance out of a nondescript house in Raleigh, N.C.

    A state jury in Leesburg has recommended a nine-year prison term in the
    nation's first felony trial of spam purveyors. Sentencing is set for

    During the trial, prosecutors focused on three products that Jaynes hawked:
    software that promises to clean computers of private information; a service
    for choosing penny stocks to invest in; and a "FedEx refund processor" that
    promised $75-an-hour work but did little more than give buyers access to a
    Web site of delinquent FedEx accounts.

    Jaynes, going by Gaven Stubberfield and other aliases, had established a
    niche as a pornography purveyor, said Assistant Attorney General Russell
    McGuire, who prosecuted the case. But Jaynes was constantly tweaking and
    rotating products.

    Relatively few people actually responded to Jaynes' pitches. In a typical
    month, prosecutors said during the trial, Jaynes might receive 10,000 to
    17,000 credit card orders, thus making money on perhaps only one of every
    30,000 e-mails he sent out.

    But he earned $40 a pop, and the undertaking was so vast that Jaynes could
    still pull in $400,000 to $750,000 a month, while spending perhaps $50,000
    on bandwidth and other overhead, McGuire said.

    "When you're marketing to the world, there are enough idiots out there" who
    will be suckered in, McGuire said in an interview.

    Prosecutors believe Jaynes had a net worth of up to $24 million, and they
    described one of his homes as a mansion, though the e-mail came from a house
    described as average.

    Jaynes got lists of e-mail addresses - millions of them - through a stolen
    database of America Online customers. He also illegally obtained e-mail
    addresses of users of the online auction site eBay.

    Prosecutors don't know how he got the lists, though McGuire said the AOL
    names matched a list of 92 million addresses an AOL software engineer has
    been charged with stealing. However Jaynes got them, they were particularly
    valuable because AOL customers and eBay users by their very nature have
    already shown a willingness to engage in e-commerce.

    Under Virginia law, like a federal anti-spam measure that took effect months
    later, sending out commercial pitches, even on a massive scale, is not
    itself illegal. The e-mail must be unsolicited and contain false information
    as to its origin or transmission.

    Jaynes did that in several ways.

    He provided bogus contact information and company names when registering for
    Web sites, making it almost impossible for recipients to track him down. He
    also falsified routing information within message headers and used software
    to generate phony domain names identifying the e-mail server used to send

    "He would do that to circumvent the spam filters," said Lisa Hicks-Thomas,
    section chief for the Virginia attorney general's computer crimes unit.

    Jaynes honed his techniques a decade ago as a distributor of regular,
    old-fashioned junk mail hawking a "mortgage refund processor," similar to
    the FedEx refund processor he pitched in his spam, McGuire said.

    But the ability to set up shop in cyberspace allowed Jaynes to take his
    fraud to a whole new level, McGuire said.

    A videotape prosecutors were barred from showing at trial shows Jaynes
    sitting amid his array of computer equipment, bragging about sitting at
    "spam headquarters." It appears, though, that Jaynes was sending out e-mails
    24 hours a day, so he could frequently leave those headquarters unstaffed.

    And it appears he had little assistance.

    Jaynes' sister, Jessica DeGroot, was convicted of identical charges but
    given no jail time. A third defendant was acquitted.

    Prosecutors would not discuss the investigative techniques that led to
    Jaynes' capture. But John Levine, author of "The Internet for Dummies" and
    an expert witness for the prosecution in Jaynes' trial, said Jaynes was
    relatively unsophisticated compared to spammers who use "zombie servers" in
    foreign countries - akin to "e-mail laundering" - to hide the e-mail's true
    origin. Such zombies are often innocent Internet users whose computers,
    through a virus or other malicious code, become relays for spam.

    "I was surprised at how simple his operation was," Levine said. "If he were
    more clever, it would have been much harder to catch him."

    Jaynes' defense attorney, David Oblon, never disputed that his client was a
    bulk e-mail distributor. But he argued that the law was poorly crafted and
    that prosecutors never proved the e-mail was unsolicited. He also argued
    before the trial that the law is an unconstitutional infringement of free

    Jaynes can raise the free-speech issue on appeal, and Oblon said both he and
    Jaynes are confident the conviction will eventually be overturned. Oblon
    also took issue with the recommended nine-year sentence, calling it
    exceptionally harsh.

    Virginia is investigating similar cases, and McGuire said a lengthy sentence
    would serve as a deterrent - not only in Virginia, where prosecutors brought
    the case given that AOL's headquarters is there.
    anthonyberet, Nov 15, 2004
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  2. anthonyberet

    gb Guest

    Yes, pcbutts1 told us that at 16.30 today.

    gb, Nov 15, 2004
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