Monday, April 11, 2005

Millionaire Spam King jailed for nine years

An American internet spammer who amassed $24 million (£12.7m) from e-mails peddling pornography, fake products and home-working schemes has been handed down a nine-year jail sentence.

Jeremy Jaynes, 30, sent over 10 million pieces of spam per day from his home in North Carolina, making him one of the most prolific spammers in the world, according to industry watchdog, SpamHaus.

The millionaire, who is married, is estimated to have received responses from one in every 30,000 e-mails, in addition to flooding tens of thousands AOL accounts from servers based in Virginia.

As a result, Jaynes received between 10,000 and 17,000 credit card orders a month –averaging $40 each, prompting prosecutors to brand him “the modern-day-snake-oil salesman.”

But despite the scale of his crime, Judge Thomas Horne has agreed to postpone his nine-year sentence under new legislation until the date of Jaynes’ appeal.

Judge Horne also pointed out that because the anti-spam law is new it raises constitutional questions, including the right of state to regulate interstate commerce.

Prosecutors however insisted that under Virginia law Jaynes was guilty, saying he broke legislation that prohibits marketers from sending more than a certain amount of spam within a time-frame, while he also used a fake e-mail address to cover his tracks.

Jaynes has since been released from court on bail of $1m, though prosecutors and computer users are rejoicing that he is electronically tagged, and cannot leave his home town of Raleigh.

The spammer was convicted alongside his sister, Jessica De Groot, who is credited with playing a lesser criminal role but faces fines of up to $7,500.

With the proceeds of their venture, Jaynes bought two homes, a steak restaurant and invested in a chain of gyms.

Sentencing Jaynes, Judge Thomas Horne said: “The jury in large measure represents community sentiment” and reflects spamming’s “tremendous societal costs.”

He added that the nine-year sentence should act as a “deterrent to stop other people who might send unsolicited mail in this fashion.”

Apr 11, 2005

No comments: