If you think “snipers” belong on the battlefront, and not in your inbox, a U.S. District Court jury agrees with you.
Scott Levine, the owner of a dead-in-the-water bulk e-mail firm, was convicted Aug. 12 of stealing 1.6 billion customer records from Acxiom. He sought to pump up the value of his now-defunct firm, Snipermail.com, by taking the names, addresses and e-mails of millions of Americans from the databases of Acxiom, a consumer info firm.
Levine, 46, was found guilty of 120 counts of unauthorized access to data, two access device fraud charges and a single obstruction of justice offense, reports say. To his dubious credit, Levine was cleared of 14 conspiracy charges and money laundering. Investigators stumbled upon evidence of Snipermail’s alleged hacking attacks–dating back to 2002, according to one report–while probing a separate security compromise at Acxiom.
A federal official called the matter one of the largest cases of data theft on record. With recent security breaches involving ChoicePoint and a General Motors (nyse: GM – news – people )-branded MasterCard– whose data was actually compromised by a chink in the computer systems of an unnamed national retailer–that’s some stiff competition.