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Man Proved Guilty of Violating Anti-Spam Law

A jury under a 2003 federal law prohibiting Internet spam has found the first guilty defendant. The defendant is from California who sent e-mails to users of Time Warner Inc.'s America Online unit to defraud them of their credit information.

According to verdicts on January 12, 2007 the court found Jeffrey Brett Goodin, 45, guilty of operating a highly corrupted phishing scheme. The jury held Goodin for executing an Internet-based spam that he created to grab personal and credit card information by duping people that they were supplying information to an established company.

The trial went on for a week and presented proof that showed that Goodin compromised several Earthlink accounts to use them to dispatch e-mails to a number of AOL users. The e-mails posed to be from AOL's billing department that requested the users to 'update' their AOL billing details and warned that a failure to do so would result in service loss. The e-mails directed the AOL customers to a web page, which required the victims to enter their personal and credit information. Goodin commandeered that web page from where he gathered the information that enabled him and his associates to make unauthorized use of their victims' credit or debit cards.

Phishing is a widespread threat on the Internet. These criminals are difficult to catch as they often go unnoticed, masked behind compromised computers and servers.

The total financial loss from this scam was almost $1 million. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rozella Oliver reported for ZDNet News that published the statement in CNET News on January 16, 2007.

In addition to being proved guilty under CAN-SPAM Act Goodin was convicted for ten other offenses including wire fraud, possessing 15 illegal access devices, misusing the AOL trademark, encouraging illegal use of credit card, attempting to harass witness, and failing to turn up in court.

Mr. Goodin will be sentenced on June 11, 2007 in Los Angeles federal court to face 101 years of jail, stated prosecutors.

The Ontario Police Department along with the Electronic Crimes Task Force investigated this case. The two units comprise of the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service.

Related article: Man Sues and Wins against ISP for Spamming Mail

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