A former AOL engineer has been sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution after selling 92 million items of customer information to spammers, including email addresses and screen names.
Jason Smathers, 25, pleaded guilty to the charges in February, admitting he sold the information for $28,000. The court heard he had stolen and sold the information in spring 2004 to Sean Dunaway, an alleged Las Vegas spammer.
Dunaway is then alleged to have used the addresses to promote an internet gambling site and then sold them on for nearly double what he paid for them, according to prosecutor David Kelley of the Southern District of New York. The addresses were then reused to send out advertisements for herbal penile-enlargement pills and he estimated that the total damage to AOL came to around $300,000.
The amount of restitution owed by Smathers has yet to be set, but a figure of $84,000 has been suggested. It will be finalised once the financial cost to AOL has been fully established.
Smathers was one of the first people to be prosecuted under the CANSPAM act and, had he not entered into a plea bargain, was facing a possible sentence of 15 years.
"I know I've done something very wrong," he told the court.
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