'Buffalo Spammer' Gets Up to 7 Years

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Howard Carmack, known as the "Buffalo Spammer," was sentenced to 3 1/2 to seven years in prison yesterday.


Carmack was accused of sending 825 million unsolicited e-mails through EarthLink accounts established with stolen identities. EarthLink won a $16.4 million judgment against Carmack last May and helped New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer investigate the criminal case.


Spitzer's office won a conviction of Carmack on 14 counts of fraud in April in the first case filed in New York under the state's 16-month-old identity-theft law. The maximum sentence Carmack faced was seven years.


The attorney general charged that Carmack mixed identity theft and unsolicited e-mail. He opened e-mail accounts with stolen identities and credit cards. EarthLink said he would change accounts frequently to cover his tracks.


"Before spammers send one more spam e-mail, they should remember that what happened to Howard Carmack can happen to them," EarthLink assistant general counsel Karen Cashion said in a statement.


Carmack is not the only one Spitzer has targeted as a spammer. In December, he filed a civil suit against bulk e-mail marketer Scott Richter, alleging he is responsible for billions of deceptive e-mail messages. The suit asks for $20 million in damages. Microsoft filed a separate suit against Richter that requests $18.8 million.


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