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US Charges AOL Worker Sold Customer List for Spam
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PostPost subject: US Charges AOL Worker Sold Customer List for Spam
Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 5:32 pm
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. investigators said on Wednesday they had arrested an America Online employee for stealing the Internet provider's customer list and selling it to a purveyor of "spam" e-mail.
Jason Smathers of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, has been charged with stealing a list of 92 million AOL customer screen names and selling them to Internet marketer Sean Dunaway of Las Vegas, said David Kelley, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in a statement.

Dunaway, who has also been arrested, used the list to promote his online gambling operation and also sold the list to other spammers for $52,000, Kelley said.

Both men face up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 under a national anti-spam law.

Working as an engineer in AOL's Dulles, Virginia, headquarters, Smathers, 24, was able to access screen names, zip codes and credit-card types, though not credit-card numbers, of the company's 30 million customers, Kelley said.

A search of Smathers' computer showed he had discussed ways to spam AOL members in April 2003, the complaint said.

AOL said it discovered the activity during a spam investigation. Smathers has been fired, the company said.

"We deeply regret what has taken place and are thoroughly reviewing and strengthening our internal procedures as a result of this investigation and arrest," the company said in a statement.

? Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.
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