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AOL phisher nets six years' imprisonment

Snared

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A California fraudster who posed as a rep from AOL's billing department in order to trick users into handing over financial details was jailed for 70 months (five years and 10 months) on Monday, Information Week reports.

Jeffrey Brett Goodin, 45, of Azusa, California, was found guilty in January of sending thousands of bogus emails to AOL customers in the first conviction by a jury under the CAN SPAM Act 2003, the US's anti-spam laws. Goodin used compromised Earthlink accounts to distribute messages supposedly originating from AOL's billing department.

Potential victims were invited to visit websites maintained by Goodin and hand over confidential information, including credit card details, under threat that failure to respond to messages could result in the suspension of their AOL accounts.

Goodin resold this credit card information to other crooks and used it himself for a number of purchases. It's unclear how much he made through the scam. Charges presented against Goodin involved 15 identified victims, but there were probably far more.

As well as offences under the CAN SPAM Act, Goodin was also convicted of wire fraud, unauthorised use of credit cards, and attempted witness harassment. He faced a potential maximum sentence of up to 101 years' imprisonment for his efforts. Goodin's lack of a previous criminal record worked in his favour in a sentencing hearing before US District Court Judge Christina A Snyder.

Because of previous failures to turn up in court, Goodin started his prison term this week. ®

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