Twenty- seven year old Adam Vitale of Brooklyn was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and ordered to pay fines of $180,000 after spamming over one million AOL users in 2005. Vitale was set up by the Secret Service almost three years ago now under the suspicion that he had been operating under false identities in order to complete his spam services. The trap he fell into with the unidentified government informant involved distributing emails throughout the AOL community in hopes of convincing users to shell out cash for a false computer security program.
In recent years the Department of Justice has taken greater care to ensure spammers do not go unpunished as the frequency and intensity of their crimes has taken a disturbing turn for the worse around the world. In the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, specific regulations were set to define spam and make it easier to catch perpetrators, including Vitale. Vitale directly violated the act by taking advantage of other computers in order to retransmit the emails and falsify headers to make them impossible to trace, so he thought. After being charged for his violations, it didn’t take Vitale much time to decide he’d be better off admitting to his crime.
In spite of his previous 22 convictions, this spammer will see the lighter side of his possible sentence because of his confession. The DOJ seems to be sending the message that you can run but you can’t hide to any and all spammers still hoping for that successful scam.