LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – One of the world’s first successful prosecutions against internet ‘spammers’ has seen two men sentenced to five years in jail in Arizona, the Guardian reports.
The two, who sent millions of unsolicited pornographic emails and netted millions of dollars, were the subjects of the first US prosecution under new federal anti-spam laws, US Department of Justice officials said.
Jeffrey A Kilbride, of Venice, California, and James R Schaffer, of Paradise Valley, Arizona, bought lists of email addresses and sent the owners links to pornographic websites, prosecutors said. They were convicted of charges including conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and transportation of obscene materials after a three-week trial and were sentenced by a federal judge in Phoenix.
Prosecutors said Kilbride and Schaffer, both 41, had started their spamming business four years ago and earned more than $2m (£1m) in commissions.
Over nine months in 2004, Kilbride, Schaffer and an associate transmitted more than 600,000 spam messages, according to court documents. They were paid commissions based on the number of people who accessed the websites via the spam.
Kilbride and Schaffer tried to make it seem as if they were sending messages from abroad by logging in to servers in Amsterdam. But those messages originated from Phoenix, prosecutors said. They were also ordered to forfeit $1.3m.
Spam is used around the world to sell and market products, promote pornography and con people into buying worthless shares. According to AOL, which blocks 1.5 billion unwanted email messages a day, the most common junk subject line in 2006 was ‘Donald Trump wants you, please respond’. Other top headings included ‘Body wrap: lose 6-20 inches in one hour’ and ‘It’s Lisa: I must have sent you to the wrong site’.