Two US men have been sent to jail for more than five years each for their part in an international spam gang which bombarded innocent internet users with sexually explicit images.
A federal judge sentenced Jeffrey A. Kilbride from California to six years in prison and his associate James R. Schaffer from Arizona to five years and three months in jail. The two men were found guilty of charges including violating the CAN-SPAM act, conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and transportation of obscene materials.
Spam sent by Schaffer and Kilbride resulted in America Online receiving more than 600,000 complaints from users between 30 January and 9 June 2004. The spam messages were sent out to promote hardcore pornographic websites.
The two men used a variety of tricks to try and hide their whereabouts from the US authorities. These included logging in remotely to servers based in Amsterdam to try and make their spam messages look like they originated from outside the USA, and using bank accounts in Mauritius and the Isle of Man.
In addition to the jail sentences, each man received a fine of USD 100,000 and was ordered to pay damages to AOL of USD 77,500. The authorities are also seizing over USD 1.13 million in revenues gathered by the criminal gang.