Top Spammer Gets 9 Years in Prison

A Virginia judge has sentenced spammer Jeremy Jaynes to nine years in prison for sending over 10 million e-mails a day with the aid of 16 broadband lines. Because the case marks the first felony prosecution for spam, however, Judge Thomas Horne postponed the sentence while the ruling is appealed.

Jeremy Jaynes, who was considered one of the top ten spammers in the world by Spamhaus, was found guilty last November and the jury recommended a nine-year prison term. Jaynes' lawyers contended that the Virginia law under which he was prosecuted violated free speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Jaynes was accused of grossing up to $750,000 per month with his unsolicited junk e-mail. Because he used aliases when sending the spam, he had violated a new Virginia law designed to help crackdown on spam.

Jurors also convicted Jaynes' sister Jessica DeGroot, but only recommended she receive a $7,500 fine for her part in the operation. Lawyers for the prosecution contended that her involvement went deeper, but lacked solid evidence.

"We're satisfied that the court upheld what 12 citizens of Virginia determined was an appropriate sentence — nine years in prison," said prosecutor Lisa Hicks-Thomas.

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