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AOL spammer jailed for 30 months

One minute behind bars for every junk mail

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A New Yorker was jailed for 30 months on Tuesday after being convicted for spamming 1.2 million AOL members with junk mail.

Adam Vitale, 27 and of Brooklyn, was also ordered to pay $180,000 to AOL in restitution for bombarding subscribers to the service with emails punting a "computer security" product. Vitale pleaded guilty (pdf) to violating US anti-spam laws a year ago after he made the mistake of cutting a junk mail distribution with a government informant, Reuters reports.

Vitale and his accomplice Todd Moeller falsified header information and used anonymous proxies - compromised PCs - to bypass AOL's spam filters. The duo completed their spam run in less than a week in August 2005 in the hope of raking in half the income from the resulting sales.

Vitale received an unusually harsh sentence for his junk mail activities partially because of his 22 prior convictions. His sentence works out to 65 seconds in jail for every junk mail he sent. ®

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