Virginia Indicts Reputed Spam Kingpin

A North Carolina man, reputedly one of the top spammers in the world, was indicted on felony charges yesterday under Virginia's 6-month-old anti-spam law.

Jeremy Jaynes was charged with four felony counts in the falsifying of routing information in hundreds of thousands of unsolicited e-mail advertising messages. Virginia authorities said Jaynes operates under the alias “Gaven Stubberfield,” which is identified by anti-spam organization Spamhaus as the No. 8 spam operation worldwide. He was taken into custody in Raleigh, NC.

“We think it will send a message,” Virginia attorney general Jerry Kilgore said in a press conference announcing the indictment. “I think [spammers] are going to be careful about coming to Virginia.”

The state also charged Richard Rutowski as a co-conspirator, and they expect to take him into custody soon. The two men face up to 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Kilgore said the state also would seek to recoup profits from the spam.

“This was a very profitable business for these two individuals,” Kilgore said. “They lived a good life.”

Virginia authorities said they tracked down Jaynes through a domain address he registered in Raleigh. They secured an indictment of the men from a Loudon County, VA, grand jury Monday. The attorney general expects the men will be extradited to Loudon County to face charges.

The state's charges were based on the grounds that much of the spam was routed through servers in the state, home to AOL. The indictments are the first under a tough spam law Virginia enacted in July. The law makes sending 10,000 unsolicited messages a day through fraudulent means a felony.

The new federal law pre-empting state anti-spam laws will not affect statutes like Virginia's, which deals with fraud.

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