AOL employee sells emails to SPAM company

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MacNut, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    AOL employee sells emails to SPAM company

    NEW YORK (AP) - Millions of AOL customers were hit with junk e-mail after an America Online insider stole the Internet giant's subscriber list and sold it to spammers, prosecutors say. The scheme resulted in AOL customers being sent unsolicited advertisements for herbal penile enhancement pills and Internet gambling come-ons, prosecutors said Wednesday. Prosecutors said Jason Smathers, 24, stole 92 million AOL screen names while working at AOL offices in Dulles, Va., and sold the list to a Las Vegas man, Sean Dunaway.

    Dunaway used it to send gambling ads and then sold it to spammers, a criminal complaint said. Smathers' list also included customer ZIP codes and credit card types, prosecutors said. AOL said it did not appear that Smathers had gained access to credit card numbers, which the company keeps in a separate facility. Smathers and Dunaway, 21, were arrested and charged with conspiracy. "We deeply regret what has taken place and are thoroughly reviewing and strengthening our internal procedures as a result of this investigation and arrest,"

    AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said. AOL, owned by Time Warner Inc., has about 32 million customers worldwide, Graham said. Many customers register several different screen names for family members or themselves. David Kelley, the U.S. attorney for Manhattan, said the arrests were two of the first prosecutions under federal anti-spamming legislation that took effect early this year.

    Dunaway declined to comment after he left a federal courthouse. Secret Service agents confiscated his computer equipment when they arrested him Wednesday, said his lawyer, Kevin Kelly. Smathers was to appear in court in Virginia. No lawyer for him could be located. Each man could face up to five years in prison and at least $250,000 in fines if convicted.

    Smathers was not authorized to have access to the screen name list, which is kept in Dulles, but used another employee's access code last year to steal it, prosecutors said. AOL fired Smathers on Wednesday. Prosecutors did not immediately say how much they allege Dunaway paid Smathers for the list, but they said Dunaway later paid him $100,000 for an updated version of it. Dunaway then offered the list to spammers, charging them $2,000 for lists containing names beginning with a single letter of the alphabet or $52,000 for the entire list, the complaint said. At least one spammer used the list to send advertising for herbal penile enhancement pills, prosecutors said.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
  2. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    All right, that guy has to be the most comical numbnut spammer for AOL to date. Word out to him. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. mymemory macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    I was expecting something like "the guy transfered all the database in his iPod"

    ¿Can you imagine?
  4. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    i think AOL's just pissed because they're the ones supposed to be making money from selling lists...

    it's AOL, can anyone be surprised?

  5. Sparky's macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    just another reason I can't stand AOL even though it's the "X" employees fault, they must have done something to cause him to do it :eek:
  6. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I wonder if the other employee was fired for letting his access code be used. Almost everywhere I've worked, it's reason for termination.
  7. musicpyrite macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Cape Cod
    I hate AOL as much as I hate DuLL and Centrino and M$, for all the crap people they brought to the internet. If it wasn't for AOL, millions of computer users wouldn't have the internet, and the internet would be a little more clean than it is today.

    This reminds me about 5 years ago my father tryed to cancel his AOL account in favor of a cheaper ISP, well AOL decided to be nice and give him 3 free moths of their service, he begged them to cancel his account now instead of 3 months form then. But they said no. Well in three months he called AOL back and lo and behold they were going to charge him for the 3 months. Of course during this 3 month period he never used his account. He finally got it all worked out, after several hours on the phone; he was not happy the rest of the day... :(

    AOL can burn in hell, with M$! :mad:
  8. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Al Roker on the Today Show yesterday said it best, "You've got jail!"

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