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Ex-AOL worker admits flogging spam list

Company loyalty we have heard of it
Mon Feb 07 2005, 08:31
A FORMER AOL software engineer has admitted stealing 92 million customer screen names and e-mail addresses from the company database and flogging them to spammers.

Jason Smathers of Harpers Ferry, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges before the wigged one in the US District Court in Manhattan.

Court watchers reckon he should get between 18 months and two years in clink, or clank as we call it here.

He will also have to pay between $200,000 and $400,000, the amount the government estimates AOL spent as a result of the e-mails.

Sentencing will be in May.

Smathers said he accepted $28,000 from someone who wanted to pitch an offshore gambling site to AOL customers. However he knew that the list would be used for spam.

Smathers allegedly sold the list to Sean Dunaway, of Las Vegas, who used it to send unwanted gambling advertisements to subscribers of AOL, the world's largest Internet provider. He used another employee's access code to steal the list of AOL customers in 2003 from its headquarters in Dulles.

Smathers might have known he was in a bit of trouble. In December the Judge in charge of his case said that he had dropped his own AOL membership because he received too much spam. Smathers was fired by AOL last June. The full story is here. µ


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