Spammer sent to the slammer! Prison for man who sent 825 million emails, Sophos reports

May 28, 2004 Sophos Press Release

Howard Carmack will spend a minimum of 3.5 years in prison for the millions of spam messages he sent
Howard Carmack will spend a minimum of 3.5 years in prison for the millions of spam messages he sent

Howard Carmack, also known as the "Buffalo Spammer", will spend a minimum of 3.5 years in prison for 14 counts of identity theft and forgery.

The New York state attorney-general's office convinced a court in April that Carmack had sent out 825 million spam messages using stolen identities and forged email addresses. Carmack has now been sentenced to between 3.5 and 7 years in prison under New York's identity theft statute.

According to Brad Maione, a spokesman for Attorney-General Eliot Spitzer, Carmack could leave prison in 3.5 years for good behaviour.

Carmack is said to have operated 343 email accounts under a variety of false names from early 2002 to May 2003, sending millions of spam messages about get-rich-quick schemes and "herbal stimulants".

"Hopefully this sentence will send a strong message to other spammers, and they will reconsider whether launching a tidalwave of unsolicited junk mail is really worth it," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Unfortunately whenever one spammer stops another seems to take their place. Since Carmack was arrested we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of spam received by computer users worldwide."

Atlanta-based ISP Earthlink won a $16.4 million judgement against Carmack last year, and assisted the authorities in prosecuting the spammer.

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses from the threats of both spam and viruses.