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For Release: Thursday, December 11, 2003
Website: http://www.vaag.com/
Contact: Tim Murtaugh or Carrie Cantrell
: (804) 786-3518 or (804) 786-4596
E-Mail: tmurtaugh@oag.state.va.us or ccantrell@oag.state.va.us

 Kilgore Announces Nation’s First Felony Spam Arrest
- World’s Eighth-Worst Spam Kingpin Ensnared by Tough New Virginia Law -

DULLES – Attorney General Jerry Kilgore today announced the nation’s first felony charges and arrest for using fraudulent means to send illegal unsolicited bulk electronic mail, known as "spam," over the Internet. Using Virginia’s new Anti-Spam law, a Loudoun County grand jury has indicted a Spam Kingpin regarded as the eighth-worst spam distributor in the world. The new law, authored by Kilgore earlier this year, is considered the toughest in the nation and was used as the model for the criminal portion of the federal legislation. Kilgore made the announcement at the headquarters of America Online in Dulles, Virginia, with representatives of AOL, MCI and UUNet.

"Anyone who has e-mail certainly knows about Spam – that frustrating, unwanted e-mail that shows up every day by the dozens or hundreds in your in-box," Kilgore said. "Spam has a direct, negative impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the free enterprise system and day-to-day operations of business."

Law enforcement authorities executed a search warrant and arrested Jeremy Jaynes (aka: "Jeremy James" and "Gaven Stubberfield") in Raleigh, North Carolina, Thursday morning and charged him with four felony counts of using fraudulent means to transmit unsolicited bulk e-mail in violation of Virginia’s Anti-Spam law, which allows for prosecution in Virginia if any part of the illegal transactions take place in any locality in the Commonwealth. Extradition procedures are underway to return Jaynes for prosecution in Loudoun County, Virginia, where the grand jury indicted him on Monday. "Gaven Stubberfield" is listed as the eighth-most prolific spammer by the Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) available on the spam information website http://www.spamhaus.com/. He faces four felony charges, each carrying punishment of one- to five-years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

"The indictment alleges that the defendant falsified or forged electronic mail transmission information or other routing information in connection with the transmission of the spam," Kilgore said. "This falsification prevents the receiver from knowing who sent the SPAM or contacting them through the ‘from address’ of the e-mail. This is what makes this e-mail a crime in Virginia and the volume that was sent during this period elevates the charge to a felony."

The indictment alleges that spam was sent between July 11, 2003 and August 9, 2003 through servers located in Virginia. Specifically, spam sent on July 16, 19 and 26 exceeded 10,000 messages during each 24-hour period. Additionally, spam messages in excess of 100,000 were sent during the 30-day period between July 11 and August 11. These numbers do not reflect the total number of messages sent, as they are based solely on actual complaints received by Internet Service Providers from their customers. The indictment also alleges that the sender falsified transmission or routing information to prevent recipients from knowing who sent the messages and how to contact the sender.

The investigation was initiated by the Attorney General’s Computer Crime Unit in August with the assistance of the investigative arms of various Internet Service Providers. The investigation followed three routes: the domain names in the e-mails, the ISPs in the e-mails and the internet connections. Kilgore declined to provide further details of the investigation, citing the coming felony prosecutions.

Kilgore’s anti-spam law, sponsored in the 2003 General Assembly by Del. Jeannemarie Devolites (Vienna) and Sen. Ken Stolle (Virginia Beach), prohibits the sending of unsolicited bulk e-mails by fraudulent means, such as changing the header or routing information to prevent recipients from contacting or knowing the identity of the sender. Such activity is punishable as a class 1 misdemeanor, or as a class 6 felony if any one of the following conditions applies:

  • The volume of spam transmitted exceeds 10,000 in any 24-hour time period, 100,000 in any 30-day time period, or one million in any one-year time period.
  • Revenue generated from specific spam exceeds $1,000 or total revenue from all spam transmitted to any ISP exceeds $50,000.
  • The defendant knowingly hires, employs, uses or permits any minor to assist in the transition of spam.

A class 6 felony is punishable by a one- to five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $2,500 or both. The legislation also includes asset forfeiture provisions to allow law enforcement authorities to seize any assets or proceeds obtained through the illegal spam operation. It also enhances penalties for violation of Virginia obscenity laws through the sending of illegal e-mails. The legislation authorizes the Attorney General’s Computer Crime Unit to investigate and prosecute spammers if illegal e-mails are sent to, from, or through any computer or computer network located in any Virginia locality.


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