The US authorities are getting tough on spammers, or at least on one spammer in particular, Howard Carmack, who yesterday was shuffled off from Buffalo to begin a seven year sentence in the Big House having been found guilty of sending 850 million junk emails through accounts he had opened with stolen identities.
The jail time was imposed on top of a US$16.4 million civil judgement that was handed down on Carmack as an exemplary punishment to discourage other spammers.
The case was brought after Earthlink, an Atlanta, Georgia-headquartered ISP alleged that Carmack had defrauded it.
After a lengthy investigation, US authorities eventually charged Carmack with forgery, identity fraud and falsifying business records.
It turned out that he ran 343 illegal email accounts under fake identities from the beginning of 2002 through to his arrest in May of last year.
Carmack devised and ran a spam system and operation that generated close to a billion junk emails that were sent out in an endless stream to random email addresses.
The emails mainly advertised the usual sexual enhancement products, off-prescription prescrition medicines, and ludicrous get-rich-quick schemes.
In a mitigation speech, Carmack said he regretted his involvement but added that he though the case against him was “overblown”. The judge was not impressed and handed down a seven year stretch.
Earthlink is delighted at the result. The company’s assistant general counsel commented, “Before spammers send one more junk email, they should stop, think and remember that what happened to Howard Carmack can also happen to them”.
Yeah, sure. Judging by the state of my email inbox this morning, the exemplary punishment has had absolutely no effect whatsoever.
please sign in to rate this article