Spam mailer gets 9 year jail sentence

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Friday, April 8, 2005

A Virginia, USA jury found a man, described as one of the top ten spammers in the world, guilty on Friday of the felony crime of using an alias to send massive bulk e-mailings. The 9 year prison sentence handed down by the jury was put on hold by the Loudoun County Circuit Judge Thomas Horne, allowing the perpetrator, Jeremy Jaynes of Raleigh, N.C., to seek an appeal.

Jaynes, who used the alias “Gaven Stubberfield” as well as others, peddled junk products and pornography. Prosecutors say he grossed up to $750,000 a month by sending at least 10 million emails a day using 16 high-speed lines.

The case was prosecuted in Virginia because it is the home to the leading internet service provider AOL, the company who instigated the charges. This is the first time a conviction has been gained using the legislation enacted in 2003 to curb bulk e-mail, aka spam, from unsolicited distribution into users mailboxes.

Jaynes remains free on a $1 million bond while his case is appealed. Prosecutors differed with his attorneys on the prospects of Jaynes winning his appeal.

His attorney, David Oblon, though never denying that his client was in the “marketing” business, argued that nine years was too long to sentence an out of state resident for a law that had taken effect just two weeks earlier.

"We have no doubt that we will win on appeal," Oblon told reporters. "Therefore any sentence is somewhat moot. Still, the sentence is not what we recommended and we're disappointed."

Prosecuter Lisa Hicks-Thomas said she was pleased with the outcome and confident the law would be upheld on appeal.