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Defending Harsh Sentences for Spammers

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the doesn't-bother-me-too-much dept.

The Courts 633

BMcWilliams writes "Russell McGuire, one of the government lawyers who prosecuted spammer Jeremy Jaynes, has published an article justifying the tough sentence recommended by a Virginia jury. He writes, 'the defense attorney argued that greed cuts both ways and the victims got what they deserved because they were trying to get rich quick. Needless to say, this did not go over well with the jury.' Still, the eye-popping 9-year sentence has even some ardent anti-spammers wondering whether 'proportionality is becoming a completely forgotten concept.'"

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Guess what! Nobody gives a shit! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775821)

Boy, have you actually smelled a boatload of niggers?

Have you personally stuck your head below deck and taken a deep whiff when, halfway across the Atlantic, a few of the niggers have died and the shit down there is several inches deep? Has the captain ever ordered you to climb down in the hold to shoot a couple of the nigger bucks for making too much noise?

God, nothing stinks worse than that. Nothing.

Re:Guess what! Nobody gives a shit! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775913)

What are you 170 years old?

These days if you need a nigger just go down to the nearest overpopulated ghetto and offer to pay them $5 an hour.

No need to go all the way to africa to get cheap nigger labor, it's the 21st century!

Re:Guess what! Nobody gives a shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776134)

Well, I was on a plane once filled with Zimbabweans (?), this big safari mofo and his 5 wives, and dear Lord, not one of them was under 200 pounds, and the smell in that little plane was overwhelming.

first post? (5, Funny)

zzmejce (756372) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775830)

And what is the defense attorney e-mail address?

Re:first post? (0)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775841)

skipthefirstammendment@succubusgovernment.com

Re:first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775991)

learntospellyoufuckingspammer@thisisntafirstamendm entissue.slashdot.org

Wrong amandment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776120)

Definitely a second amandment issue!

Proprotionality (3, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775834)

So, how much did it work out *per spam*? A couple of seconds, if that? If "it takes a second" to hit delete, then that's a reasonable sentence for each spam.

Re:Proprotionality (4, Insightful)

cbogart (154596) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775923)

Seems like the courts could come up with some estimate of costs imposed by spamming -- how many hours do how many people spend "hitting delete" or installing and maintaining spam filters; what's the cost of the bandwidth needed to carry it nationwide. Then figure out what proportion of that this spammer was responsible for, and you have an estimate of how much value he stole from people.

Re:Proprotionality (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775924)

So what's that.. around 11 days/one million spam messages sent... gives 31 million spams == one year in jail. 31*9 ~= 280 million spams.

Re:Proprotionality (2, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776107)

And 280 Million is what, a year's worth of spam by the average spammer, if it's that low?

If they were doing this more than a year, they got off light.

Re:Proprotionality (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776006)

Consider for a moment the financial costs imposed on the spam victims and the infrastructure providers the spam traversed on its way to those "greedy" spam recipients. It's not uncommon for criminals to go to prison for extended periods for stealing cars, defrauding banks, shoplifting, etc. Given that this spammer probably sopped up millions of dollars worth of resources, I don't find the sentence very stiff at all. The only difference between Jaynes and a bank robber is that he didn't use a gun in his crime.

Cheers,

Please.... (0, Redundant)

MrKane (804219) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775846)

..what is proportionality? Is it some kind of concept?

Should have been the death sentence (0, Redundant)

Snaller (147050) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775855)

so they got of lightly...

Re:Should have been the death sentence (1)

sharok (301384) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775902)

Amen to that

Re:Should have been the death sentence (0)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775915)

Hanging's too good for 'em.

YES, let us *kill* all who mildly annoy us. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776058)

I really, really wish the entire community would grow up.

Death sentence? (-1, Flamebait)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775856)

I think they should associate death sentences with spamming. It would definitely help keep those "Buy cheap vi.a.gra now!" emails out of my spam box. Even though they're in my spambox, they're still irritating. Death to spammers and trolls alike (they're on the same page)

Zoo mentality (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775859)

It doesn't need to be said that you can get off with a lighter sentence for killing someone. This just goes to show that we're too quick to lock people in cages these days. Why not have them give back to the community or something constructive?

Re:Zoo mentality (1)

miskatonic alumnus (668722) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776092)

Because he'll do it again. As Steve said, fines aren't going to do the trick.

Re:Zoo mentality (0)

ThereIsNoSporkNeo (587688) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776095)



Because, with the amount of hatred for spammers out there, they wouldn't last 10 minutes in "The community".

Re:Zoo mentality (1)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776109)

I think its because that defeats the meaning of the justice system. Revenge

Contribute to ridiclulous levels of spam (4, Interesting)

Shnizzzle (652228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775861)

and go to jail for nine years. Drive a car drunk, sell crack, or commit rape and serve far less (or even any) time. I love this country.

Re:Contribute to ridiclulous levels of spam (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775919)

Just goes to show the punishment for drunk driving, selling crack and rape are too lenient, not that the punishment for spam is too harsh.

Re:Contribute to ridiclulous levels of spam (1, Funny)

Peden (753161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775946)

Five words for you: "Three strikes, you are out." (Californian I believe) Any state that adopts judicial practices from a sport, needs to be severely looked after.

Re:Contribute to ridiclulous levels of spam (2, Insightful)

Zoop (59907) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775953)

sell crack [...] and serve far less (or even any) time

Unlike smoking crack, this crime actually had victims. Real, honest to jebus money-losing victims.

(Admittedly, very stupid victims who would probably have given up money for magic beans.)

Re:Contribute to ridiclulous levels of spam (0, Offtopic)

wibskey (193633) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776055)

Unlike smoking crack, selling crack actually has victims...

Re:Contribute to ridiculous levels of spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776026)

Drive a car drunk enough times and you will go to jail the rest of your life as a serial criminal.

Same with any of the other crimes.

Personally, I think if we find someone selling crack and we know they are selling it for $5 a rock, and they have $500 on them, we should charge them for 100 instances of selling this item. Sure, all but the first is circumstantial, but people have been put to death for circumstantial evidence as well.

If you are a serial criminal and see nothing wrong with it, put them in prison for life. If we can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were doing this -- far more than just Reasonable Guilt -- kill the fucker because there is no reason to keep someone alive that is flagrantly flaunting adherence to the law when they are never going to be able to be a productive member of society. I don't believe in the death penalty, but I do believe that if we have it, we need to be less hypocritical in its usage and make certain all wastes of life are treated as such.

Re:Contribute to ridiculous levels of spam (1)

asdfghjklqwertyuiop (649296) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776065)


If you are a serial criminal and see nothing wrong with it, put them in prison for life. If we can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were doing this -- far more than just Reasonable Guilt -- kill the fucker


Kill the fucker? for what serial crime exactly? Murder, or smoking pot?

Re:Contribute to ridiclulous levels of spam (0, Troll)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776062)

Well except for Selling Crack. A lot of these crimes are more spur of the moment things. A person doesn't wake up and go to themselfs. "Self, I think I will drive drunk today" It just kinda happend spur of the moment. This long term Spamming thing is premeditated and they do say to them selfs "How many suckers can I get today." While I admit the above crimes are more hanus, and cause more danger. But these are more spur of the moment and are not attended to getting as many suckers as possible. Even selling crack, the crack sellers usually sell to people who want it and they don't do a mega advertising campain to sell their product (Most of the time is not like DARE where the pusher is targeting little kids left and right trying to sell drugs. It is usually the little kids who are interested in it first confronting the dealer, or their friends just being friendly and offer to share the drugs.) That is why they get the bigger senctance. Also Spammers have a lot more victems. To each person who needs to delete it and make sure it is not a real email, to the corproations who are spending millions trying to block spam. Spamming has a global affect while the other more dangerious crimes only have a local effect.

Re:Contribute to ridiclulous levels of spam (2, Interesting)

Grax (529699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776086)

I just question that jail/prison is an appropriate punishment. It isn't that I feel prison is too harsh. It is just that it is very expensive (to the taxpayer) and it keeps criminals in the company of other criminals, which I feel is not an environment conducive to learning to act in a non-criminal manner.

Of course I haven't come up with a fitting alternative. Fines can not be administered fairly to criminals in different financial tiers and public flogging is generally not approved of.

Side note: after thinking about it, I don't like the idea of taking away a felon's voting rights. Suppose that eating were made a felony. The fix for something that stupid would be to vote the jokers that passed it out of office. But no one could vote them out of office since they would all be felons.

Re:Contribute to ridiclulous levels of spam (2, Insightful)

oconnorcjo (242077) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776097)

and go to jail for nine years. Drive a car drunk, sell crack, or commit rape and serve far less (or even any) time. I love this country.

The defense lawyer did a REALLY shabby job. He said "they acted like shitheads only because they were trying to get rich fast"

So yes they got a harsh sentence but if I was a jurror you can bet that would have pushed my "for maximum punishment" trigger finger too.

If a rapist had the defense of "I raped her because I knew it would feel so fucking good" you can be assured they would get the death penalty (in a death penalty state).

While a harsh sentence, I feel no pitty for the defendants. Spam is/should be illegal and those that try to make it a bussiness model should pay dearly for thier actions (which includes paying for a good lawyer).

Punishment sufficient to deter (2, Interesting)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776130)

It appears that asking nicely and saying 'pretty please' does not get their attention enough to make them stop. Nor do 100Kbuck fines.

Added extra brownie points: Those nine years in prison are without a computer.

I can imagine the finger spasms now.

considering... (2, Insightful)

kalpol (714519) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775862)

the amount and cost of the bandwidth they stole, nine years is about right.

Two Wrongs... (2, Insightful)

dorward (129628) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775864)

Well maybe the victims did deserve everything they got, but two wrongs do not make a right in America. (Guantanamo Bay is in Cuba)

Re:Two Wrongs... (2, Insightful)

sharok (301384) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775947)

Now that is brilliant. Must be the secret to the impunity of the American government.
After all, they Never Do Any Wrong (TM) - on US soil at least. When cameras are present. Or the journalist cannot be "kidnapped".

longer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775868)

should of been longer sentence!!!!!! like (life)^2
or the spammers have to pay fines a cent pre byte of spam

Kill them all, I say. (-1, Flamebait)

Kyokugenryu (817869) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775869)

I'm not happy until they're hung and quartered.

Punishment fitting the crime? (5, Insightful)

BobSutan (467781) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775871)

Proportionality be damned. They're out for blood and need to make an example of him. What I have been wondering is why spammers even need to spend time in jail. Wouldn't a large fine be in order and serve the same purpose? Do we really need more non-violent criminals crowding up our jails and costing taxpayers even more money?

Re:Punishment fitting the crime? (0, Flamebait)

ocmeking (815945) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775935)

Yes, the violent criminals need new sex-toys to play with or there will be more prison riots. Sounds like a good way for spammers to contribute to society via the rehabilitation of hardened felons.

Re:Punishment fitting the crime? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775955)

No.

Fines don't work. When you are a professional scammer and thief, this is just the cost of doing business. Its just like thugs that work certain neighborhoods have to pay a percentage to the local mob boss.

And there are no debtors prisons in the US. If he moves his operations overseas, while still maintaining a residence in the US, the money is more or less untouchable...he'll just declare bankruptcy and move to a state that doesn't allow forclosure of primary home and vehicle for bankruptcy and drive a Hummer to his quarterbillion house and be out of reach of the authorities.

Prison sentences are the only way to go. The guy knew it was wrong and choose to do so anyways. For that, jail time is appropriate. 9 years in jail? Maybe over the line, but then again, he knew the risks...if I was told if I spit on a sidewalk I'd go to prison for life, I'd be sure not to spit on the sidewalk (or be prepared to take the consequences for doing so).

Re:Punishment fitting the crime? (2, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776061)

Fines can work very well, if done right.

If it's say 3-4 times what came in because of the the activity, it's more than a cost of business.

Re:Punishment fitting the crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775980)

I hate it when courts make an example of someone. It seems immature to take out personal frustration on a particular person, rather than trying to give someone a fair sentence.

Besides, spam is just mass harrassment. It's annoying, but 9 years?! If it's a "we need to protect the suckers who keep spammers in business" mentality, then this country has lost the live-and-let-live principle of freedom. Worried about suckers keeping spammers alive? Take advantage of your freedom of speech, and educate people why they shouldn't buy from spammers.

Re:Punishment fitting the crime? (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776099)

A proportionate punishment would be to ban them (temporarly on a first offence, permanently for subsequent offences) from: access to the internet, being directors or shareholders involved in any way with a companies that do any business using the 'net. Confiscation of all equipment used in their spamming, confiscation of all the proceeds of their criminal acts plus a fine based on the volume and type of spam. Eg sending out spam with intent to defraud is more serious then spamming to advertise an on-line pharmacy. Making lots of money (regardless of whether it was fraudulent or not) from your spams also multiplies the fine.

Make the punishment fit the crime. 9 years in jail is ridiculous. 9 years in jail following mutliple convictions and re-offending: sure. But on a first offence?!? Nah that's just politicians willy waving.

Why not 9 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775872)

Seriously, the guy has cost thousands and tens of thousands of dollars in manhours from his activities, defrauded dozens of folks to the tune of millions of dollars. This isn't about having to hit the delete key in my InBox one more time. Spam has a very real cost and pain associated with it and that is what anti-spam adovates try and focus on not just "It's really annoying".

Fix other sentences, not these (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775879)

Yes, spamming is not comparable to rape. It is white collar crime. However, the solution is not to go all powder puff on these people. If a rapist convicted at the same time as a spammer will get out of prison earlier than the spammer, guess what. The spammer is not in for too long, the rapist is not in for long enough.

Re:Fix other sentences, not these (1)

IPFreely (47576) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776063)

It is white collar crime. However, the solution is not to go all powder puff on these people.

So how much time do you think Copyright violators should get?

One word: deterrent (1, Insightful)

sjasja (694035) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775883)

Sentences are in correct proportion to the crime when the punishment significantly lowers crime rate.

Does the 9-year sentence reduce spam? Keep doubling the sentence until spam stops.

Spam isn't victimless, and it isn't done accidentally. It is professional crime, done on purpose and with pre-meditation.

Re:One word: deterrent (4, Insightful)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775975)

The concept that harsh punishments act as a more effective deterrent than 'strong chance of being caught' with a minor fine has been disproven time and again. You'll learn this in any 101 Psychology or Criminal Law or Sociology course pretty much.

As much as I hate spam, I would much rather see the man bankrupted, or seriously fined than server ANY jail time. At no point has my quality of life or personal safety ever been threatened by spam. Incarceration should be an option of last resort.

I find it funny that most slashdotters will cry foul at ~any~ type of fine for file trading or uncapping their modems or for warddriving, and then scream for violent dismemberment of someone who sends unsolicited e-mails.

Re:One word: deterrent (4, Insightful)

gspeare (470147) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776125)

I'd rather see the economic incentives for spam eliminated; as long as they exist, so will spam.

OTOH, knowing that this guy won't be spamming for 9 years is not a terrible thing. I agree that the degree of this crime is lower than many others, but the magnitude seems extremely higher. We should be comparing his sentence to that of a mass murderer or serial rapist.

Re:One word: deterrent (1)

dwpro (520418) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776121)

That is a great idea, lets apply this logic to all forms of punishment...lets cut the salary of everyone who posts on slashdot at work, doubling the amount each time someone does this malicious act. After all, spam isn't victimless(he/she gets paid to do a job, and not doing so hurts the company) and certainly is done on purpose and with pre-mediation.

hmmm..scratch that last part, but it is done on purpose.

Completely insane!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775884)

Did anyone get hurt? Die? There was a child molester in our local community who recently was sent away for 10 years - is that only a little worse than a spammer?

I know, some people will say yes. I hate spam too . But jail time - in a country that has the fastest growing inmate population in the world - over a few billion electronic bits?

I can understand bankrupting them, and even a few months of jail time - but NINE YEARS? ARE THEY INSANE?? What next, 5 years jail for pirating and providing a commercial OS?? (Sorry, just because you didn't understand that P2P means you are distributing content is no excuse..)

Seriously, where does it all end?

Re:Completely insane!! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776072)

There was a child molester in our local community who recently was sent away for 10 years...
Did anyone get hurt? Die?
Seriously, where does it all end?
1. Jail time for spammers
2. Less spam
3. ??? (productivity increases)
4. Profit!

I favor the death penalty (1, Insightful)

tallman68 (586637) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775885)

As someone who has to deal with endless user complaints on the subject, I see nothing wrong with public executions for spammers. That way they won't take up valuable jail space.

How about TV advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775888)

Are these same laws also going to be applied against TV adverts, newspaper adverts, advertising in general?

What is the difference between spamming and advertising?

You could argue that you buy a TV/newspaper expecting to see adverts, but surely that can be taken to be the case with e-mail now?

Re:How about TV advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775979)

I think it's because one can be regulated, and the other not. And as we know, as soon as something cannot be regulated by government, it will be made illegal.

Thus the solution should be to make a guild of spammers, and let them be able to regulate themselves, then all will be happy in some Utopian Pratchett world.

When you can serve longer for spamming (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775897)

Than you can for rape, or causing death by dangerous driving, etc, then there's something wrong with the justice system.

Re:When you can serve longer for spamming (1)

Peden (753161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775916)

This is something that comes up on a regular basis, but you cannot always compare these to each other. Rape and dangerous driving are seldomly planned and thought of, unlike economical crime which is downright cold. There needs to be harsh punishment, but 9 years is just too much.

I support the death penalty for spammers. (1)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775899)

I'm not so worried about proportion that I'm willing to let them ruin the internet. I think this was a good first start - hopefully the next one is tougher.

Spam equivalent to rape? (5, Insightful)

brandonY (575282) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775901)

Rape is usually about 5-20 years, isn't it? I agree that 9 years is a little extreme for spamming.

The problem with our society is that we can't figure out a better way to punish people than to put them in jail for a decade or so and let them think about what they did. We're not quakers, for the love of God. Why can't we just:

1.) Take all the money paid to him for spamming,
2.) Fine the companies that paid him to spam, give as much of that money back to the gullible suckers as we can, and
3.) Give him 50 lashes and tell him he's not allowed to use email for 5 years.

Re:Spam equivalent to rape? (0)

Peden (753161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775972)

1.) You probably do that on top of jail 2.) You are in the US, noone wants to hurt a corporation 3.) You are not in Iran ;)

Re:Spam equivalent to rape? (0)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776048)

Rape can carry a term of anywhere from 5 years to life, depending on the circumstances.

punishment (2, Insightful)

r00t (33219) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776089)

Damn right, but americans are too squeamish to
deliver 50 lashes.

Fines are unfair. They are nothing to the wealthy,
and the poor simply won't -- can't -- pay.

Jail is unfair. For the poor, it is free food and
housing. Oddly, the rich (see Martha Stewart) seem
to get off pretty easy too. The rich don't have
employment to worry about either.

It's always the middle class that suffers the most
from our current forms of punishment.

At least with lashes, you have to be one of a few
perverts to enjoy the punishment.

BTW, the rapist is kind of special. One could just
remove the offending body parts.

Also consider (5, Funny)

koi88 (640490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775903)


Last week my neighbour's brat rang my door bell then ran away.
I demand at least 5 years in prison as it's not the first time he did that and I'm not the only victim.

Re:Also consider (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775954)

Oh shut up.

Should have been more (4, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775907)

The spammers in this case comitted many counts of fraud. If they'd been charged with that (which probably would have been a tougher case to make than proving they'd sent emails that hid their identity), they probably would have gotten a much longer sentence. Everyone, the spammers included, should be happy that the prosecuters decided to make an example of them for spamming instead of putting together a solid fraud case with a few thousand consecutive sentences.

Perspectives (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775910)

What jail sentence would a person receive for blowing up a million letterboxes ( I know I can't use my e-mail address anymore for the thousands of spams that come in every time I check my mail)?

What jail sentence would a person receive for putting hardcore pornography into a million letterboxes?

What jail sentence would a person receive for delivering unsolicited pornography to children?

What jail sentence would a person receive for causing massive civil disturbance that wastes hundreds of thousands of working hours?

What kind of person would do this? Is such a person safe to be walking the streets?

Spammers do all of this, and more. Maybe nine years is a light sentence.

Damn right! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775943)

Thank you!

Spam costs society big time.

People need to learn that spamming is just like selling drugs.

It may get you rich quick but it is very negative to society and in the end you will just go to jail for a LONG time...so don't do it.

(yes, I realize giving out 25 year sentences to coke dealers hasn't stopped drugs, but still that's no reason not punish them)

9 years in Folsom, or minimum security? (4, Interesting)

davejenkins (99111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775922)

1. Is this nine years in Supermax/leavenworth breaking rocks, or is it nine years in white-collar minimum security for dysfunctional mob accountants?

2. Certainly the criminals can get out earlier with good behaviour.

3. Porportionality, and the excess thereof, is the entire basis behind "prison" as a concept: we try to make that destination deplorable enough to try and discourage certain behaviours that society deems as "crimes".

4. These bozos made the mistake of committing a crime where the jurors themselves were also victims (indirectly). Stupid. Very, very stupid.

Let's send him some spam.... (1)

elcheesmo (646907) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775925)

I used the Wake County website [wakegov.com] to look up Jeremy's million-dollar home. We should send him some mail and see how he likes it : )

Re:Let's send him some spam.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775978)

6632 Greywalls Ln
Raleigh, NC 27614-8204

No new laws (2, Insightful)

Monoman (8745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775936)

This a good example of why we probably don't need new laws. If they committed fraud then convict them of fraud, regardless of the mechanism. If they went phishing and stole money right out of accounts, then charge them accordingly. The sentences would then be more in line with expectations. However, one could argue that sentences are too short becuase they obviously aren't deterring enough. :-)

IANAL: Why do people think the different methods of committing a crime require different laws? Is murder by using a knife versus a crowbar defined and treated differently in the law books?

Poor defence (2, Interesting)

wiggys (621350) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775938)

I'm sorry but I don't hate spammers because they want to get rich quick. The desire to get rich quick is a natural, healthy and legal one!

I hate spammers because they are lying, thieving scamming criminal bastards.

They hijack computers to send out millions of junk messages to millions of people. They do this to be anonymous and therefore unaccountable, and they use other people's bandwidth to send out their junk.

Some spammers send out pornographic email knowing damn well thousands of kids will end up with it in their inboxes, and they include spurious text in the messages to try to evade spam filters.

I would wager than 99% of all products they advertise via spam are fake or illegal. Anyone stupid or ignorant enough to buy anything from one of these criminals is simply encouraging them to annoy more and more people.

It's not about getting-rich-quick that I have the problem with, it's the way they go about it.

Why not fraud (4, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775948)

It was pretty clear from the article that these guys were also guilty of fraud. They had a 30% chargeback rate and from the description of what was involved in the chargebacks, I'm surprised 30% were that persistent.

I'm curious why fraud charges weren't stacked on top of all this.

I'm not complaining. 9 years for spamming. I just hope this guy isn't the last. I really want to see them go after as many of these guys as they can. Going after 1 isn't much of a deterrant. Going after dozens could be. It's not like there are as many big-time spammers as there are file sharers. You don't have to get that many convictions to start scaring them.

Actually it is proportionate if you think about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10775949)

It's proportionate to the liklyhood of catching one of these idiots. If the odds of actually getting one in front of a jury is 1:N -to be an effective deterrant the penalty has to be a facor of N. Otherwise what's the threat?

If I make $10 dollars in a scam, and I have a 1 in 1000 chance of getting caught, a penalty of $10, $100, $1000 isn't enough.

argument is illogical (1)

koi88 (640490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776091)


Actually, most murderers are being caught while thieves, such as pickpockets are rarely being caught.
According to your logic, the penalty for theft must be harder than for murder.

In a nutshell: (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775950)

Spammers like this are essentially guilty of false advertising, concealing their identity, digital identity theft, and flagrant misuse of public and private networks.

They suck time and bandwidth from system administrators, sell products they know don't work as advertised, make it difficult or impossible for customers to seek restitution, and wreak havoc on the digital lives of those they impersonate.

They're liars, thieves, swindlers, frauds, cheats, conmen. And like anyone in those professions, they justify it by insisting they're just "honest businessmen" and "let the buyer beware".

In the old days, people like this got tarred and feathered and run out of town tied to the back of a horse. If they were lucky.

Nine years is just long enough to teach a valuable lesson, if you ask me. If we're lucky the technology will have outstripped his ability to take advantage of it by then and he can go back to practicing shell games on city street corners.

Yes, "proportionality" is long dead (4, Insightful)

MattW (97290) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775960)

Wasn't it obvious? People get charged with jaywalking, conspiracy to jaywalk, purchase of running shoes with intent to jaywalk, reckless jaywalking, disregarding traffic signals with intent to jaywalk, and end up pleading down to "just" a year.

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them." - Ayn Rand

Not that spammers don't deserve jail time, but realize that we're quickly approaching a stage where everyone is guilty of something.

So, what were they actually guilty of? (2, Informative)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775963)

Spamming, or fraud. IIRC, they were actually found guilty of committing fraud. The fact that they spammed peoples mailboxes to find "easy marks" is by the by... Fraud is Fraud... and it carries a hefty punishment.

I think we're looking at this the wrong way. (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775995)

You want to deter people from spamming? Isn't spamming that annoying that there ought to be harsh treatment?

If anything, instead of being too harsh, this simply shows sentences for other crimes are way too light.

Justice? (1)

delta_avi_delta (813412) | more than 9 years ago | (#10775998)

If I understand the principle correctly, prison is the place where you put people who can't function in society: the murderers and rapists of the world.

While spammers are a menace to online society, they're more than likely perfectly harmless in the real world. Fines, bans on internet use, these would be more appropriate punishments.

As for those who want to give money back to the gullible twats who lost money: I have a diametrically opposed view: fine people who respond to spam! If that one person per 100,000 or whatever didn't click on the damn link I wouldn't get 100 messages a day trying to sell me $29 penis enlargements. Oh, and *anyone* who' s willing to mess with their manhood with cheap products deserves what's coming to them.

9 *hard* years... (1, Funny)

dark-br (473115) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776003)

I hope his fellow inmates really like spam and for best results the viagra ones. Can you imagine the *hard* time his going to get?

"Come here bitch, i've got something for you" ;)

The relevance of greed going both ways (2, Insightful)

ColourlessGreenIdeas (711076) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776008)

I have no complaints about spammers selling dodgy things to gullible individuals. The only thing I complain about is them causing hassle to non-gullible individuals in the process. So I don't see the relevance of that argument.

trying to get rich quick. (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776010)

There is actually nothing wrong with trying to get rich quick. The problem is getting rich quick at someone else's expence. Nine years is harsh, it is what I would expect for a violent crime.


I hate spammers as much as the next guy, but I can not agree that the punishment should be equal to crimes of violence such as rape, murder, and assault. I would submit that the nature of the crime of spamming is to make a profit that the primary punishment should be a fine. In the case of successful drug convictions the dealer can loose their house, car, boat, and everything they used to traffic and store the drugs. While I don't wholly agree with many aspects of the war on drugs, I fully agree that profits made from illegal activities should be funneled back into crime prevention, education, and generally improving the quality of life.

Re:trying to get rich quick. (1)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776100)

The jury might have factored in that he will not serve the whole nine years, especially since it is a non-violent crime. He will mostly likely serve about half of that.

Re:trying to get rich quick. (1)

delta_avi_delta (813412) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776111)

If I understand the principles of Economics, everyone who gets rich, does so at someone elses "expense". You can't get rich without acquiring someone elses money...

Plea bargains (1)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776011)

This sends a good message. Future defendants will be much more willing to plea bargain for a lesser sentence, fines, etc. if they know they might get serious jail time.

Obviously I'm not privvy to any negotiations between the defense and the prosecutors, but it's a fair bet they were offered a deal in exchange for a guilty plea. They probably figured a they'd get a fine and a suspended sentence and go back to business.

Has anybody else noticed... (3, Interesting)

bmcmurphy (771356) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776017)

a significant reduction in the SPAM they're receiving? At our organization (2500+ employees) the number of SPAMS went down by about 1/3 the day after this sentencing, and has stayed down ever since. Coincidence?

I still have a question.. (2, Funny)

thegoogler (792786) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776022)

What about chat and message boards spamming... What about chat and message boards spamming... What about chat and message boards spamming... What about chat and message boards spamming... What about chat and message boards spamming... What about chat and message boards spamming... (sorry if this wasnt funny, feel free to mod down)

Real solution (3, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776025)

He should just send an apology email for each spam. That would certainly cut down on the problem.

Wasting other people's resources (2, Interesting)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776043)

Spammers deserve a solid punishment, IMHO. They waste people's time, one of the most precious things people have. Maybe just a few seconds per mail, but multiplied by millions (at least, maybe hundreds of millions).

They waste network bandwidth, most of which is paid by others. Server capacity is wasted with spam-filtering. Admins, developers & home users have to waste time on writing/deploying anti-spam software.

They make e-mail, a very useful internet resource, a lot less useful, and I view that as a form of vandalism.

Much of their work is done by breaking into other people's computers (zombie networks), which in itself is illegal in many places. Not to speak of other uses (DDoS attacks etc.) spammers may have for zombie networks they control.

Users don't want spam, there are laws against this, and even in the face of all this, spammers continue with their business on a massive scale. So sorry, but they deserve every punishment they get.

Kinda harsh (1)

Locdonan (804414) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776045)

The sentence, although it seems fitting at times, is kind of harsh, couldn''t they have them doing something productive for the electronic community?

I think that their sentence should have been a cash sum to pay off the cost of prosecution and then make them build PCs for underprivledged people/ schools.

Hell, make them teach a class on identifying SPAM and phishing scams. They may not like it, but dang it they better do it and do it right, cuz THEN they go to the pokey.

Am I just being too hopeful? Maybe. But We have so little jail space, and so many more worthwhile sickos to lock up.

You're all talking a load of crap (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776068)

Really - Hardly anyone genuinely cares about the time it takes to deal with spam, or the nadwdth it takes up. You're not really going to do anything productive with the extra time taken. I mean, come on!

The issue I have, and everyone else has is that it's simpyl really really rude. I have email for a specific purpose. I provide it for people to contact me. Having some jerk take advantage of this to try to sell me something - especially something that I didn't want in the first place - is simply extremely bad manners.

There are way civilised people behave. This is not one of them. If you want to advertise, provide me with something that benefits me.

Like you need to ask (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776083)

proportionality is becoming a completely forgotten concept.

The US has more people in jail as a percentage of the population than Russia.

I hate spammers as much as anyone but is this really who we want filling up our federal prisons?

1 week is enough (0)

hsoft (742011) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776096)

In the same cell as a gay rapist. It should be enough for him to never spam again.

And I say yes! 9+ years is appropriate (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776103)

People keep running the comparison to violent crimes. So let's keep doing that and show what I think about it and how they compare.

Murder and rape are rarely, if ever, premeditated. When they are, the sentence is WAY beyond 9 years. Crimes of passion are handled in a much lighter way in most cases... as they should be.

Spamming and fraud are not crimes of passion -- they are more than simply premediated, they are planned to very small details. While committing the offense, they continue to show contempt by attempting to evade the people trying to stop them. This is a HUGE lack of respect for other people and for their property. A hefty fine and/or a short time in jail isn't going to teach the man some respect... but someone named Bubba that he might share his cell with might be able to do that over time.

Will he be in for 9? I doubt it... it's a state conviction... he'll be out in 3 or less. But he'll also belong to the state on parole for the remaining time... waiting, watching for him to do it again... and if he does, *SLAM!* -- deep shit.

Right time, wrong crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10776124)

Ah, yes, Slashdot: where Kevin Mitnick is defended, but spammers'll git slung from the nearest hangin' tree.

More seriously, from reading the prosecutor's letter, it sounds like the jury gave the defendants a wire fraud sentence without actually convicting them of fraud. This ain't good -- if the prosecutors wanted to put the defendants away for a long time, they should have charged them with fraud as well as with spamming.

Of course, that's not the way the system works. In this case, the prosecutors got an incredibly long sentence and didn't have to prove the defendants engaged in fraud. (It also sounds like the defense lawyer let a lot of argumentation slide that wasn't directly germane to the case.) America, love it or fear it.

This is an issue of KNOWINGLY being unethical (4, Interesting)

Theovon (109752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776132)

I realize our justice system all about law and completely devoid of ethics, but sometimes the jurys are allowed to inject some sanity. Spammers are FULLY AWARE that they're intruding on millions of people who won't want to be intruded upon. They shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

But then the legal system responds to citizen unrest and develops laws which try to restrict what spammers can do.

NOW, the spammer is flagrantly violating both ethics and the law. They're filling your inbox with thousands of unwanted emails, stealing half the available handwidth in the fastest networks, and costing people inordinate amounts of money, just so the spammer can scam 0.01% of his email recipients. AND THEY KNOW IT.

I think people should be hanged for such flagrant disregard for everyone else on the planet. 9 years in prison? He got off light.

One word after seeing this article (-1, Offtopic)

Mr. Cancelled (572486) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776135)

Forehead!

Seriously, The guy looks like a lightbulb with a wig on. 8)=

As for the harsh sentences... 9 years is a little high, but oh well. This guy continued abusing the system after the government announced its intentions.

If thousands of pissed off customers didn't change their mind, and the threat of government action didn't make them stop, what would a light sentence have done? Stopped them for the duration of it probably, but then the guy would have been back out there spamming again soon thereafter.

Perhaps such a heavy sentence will deter other would-be spammers. I know my daily load of Spam hasn't dropped at all, so I wouldn't mind seeing a few more equally heavy sentences handed down. Maybe other nations should follow (I'm looking at you China!).

Not has harsh as any punishment I could dream up! (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#10776136)

It's a simple fact that spam costs ISPs lots of money. If someone stole millions from AOL and got a 9 year sentence, no one would think twice. But if someone forces AOL to spend millions to block the unwanted spam, suddenly that's ok?! It makes no sense.

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