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Johanne Torres[October 26, 2004]

Spammers Face the Judge in Virginia


Jessica DeGroot, Jeremy Jaynes and Richard Rutowski spent most of the day yesterday at a Virginia court during the beginning of first felony spam trial in the nation. The three alleged spammers are accused of working together in sending thousands of unsolicited e-mail messages through fake return e-mail addresses and fraudulent routing IP info.

Siblings DeGroot and Jaynes and alleged accomplice Rutowski pleaded not guilty and could all face up to fifteen years in prison and up to $10,000 in fees. If Jeremy Jaynes’ name sounds familiar, it might be because the Spamhaus Project placed him on its top ten spammer list.

The tough anti-spam law in Virginia aided officials bring the alleged spammers to face the judge. The state is believed to have one of the toughest anti-spam laws in the country—probably because of the large number of Internet providers having e-mail servers reside in the state—pushing in a large percentage of Internet traffic flow. It was reported that a large Internet service provider also assisted Virginia officials in the investigation.

The Virginia law prohibits the fabrication of fake identity information when e-mailing in bulk. According to the law, spammers can become felons when the volume of spam exceeds 10,000 e-mail messages in 24 hours, 100,000 in 30 days or 1 million in a year.

This Virginia spam trial is just part of the rapidly spreading anti-spam law enforcing sting across the nation. Just recently, I reported on the very first Can-Spam conviction in the U.S. The federal Can-Spam goes after individuals and companies that mask their identities when sending e-mail in bulk and also collect e-mail addresses to send unsolicited commercial messages. The law fines offenders with a $250 per e-mail penalty and possible criminal conviction.

Johanne Torres is the contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was the assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

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