Dirty duo guilty of obscene spam act

Jury convicts two men on multiple charges including fraud and transportation of obscene materials

IT security and control firm Sophos has welcomed news that two men have been found guilty for their part in an international spam gang, which bombarded innocent internet users with explicit adult content.

A federal jury has convicted James R. Schaffer, of Paradise Valley, Arizona, and Jeffrey A. Kilbride, of Venice, California, on multiple charges including conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and transportation of obscene materials.

Spam sent by Schaffer and Kilbride, both 41 years old, resulted in America Online receiving more than 600,000 user complaints between 30 January and 9 June, 2004. According to Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, the spam messages, which were sent out to promote pornographic websites, grossed the two men more than two million dollars.

“This dirty duo used a variety of tricks to try and hide their whereabouts from the US authorities, including logging-in remotely to servers based in Amsterdam to make their spam messages appear to be of non-US origin, and using bank accounts in Mauritius and the Isle of Man,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “The spammers worked hard to protect themselves and disguise their identities, but didn’t lose any sleep over the hundreds of thousands of innocent families and children who were receiving their unwanted explicit emails.”

Schaffer and Kilbride face up to five years in prison for each spam act and obscenity offence. In addition, they face a fine of up to 500,000 USD, and a maximum 20 year prison sentence for money laundering. Sentencing is scheduled for 24 September.

Other members of the gang, including work-at-home ‘mom’ Jennifer Clason and Kirk Rogers of Manhattan Beach, California, have already admitted their involvement in the international spam operation.

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