'Buffalo Spammer' Arrested

UPDATE: The notorious spammer accused of sending more than 825 million unsolicited e-mails from illegal EarthLink accounts is arrested and arraigned in New York. New Bill Would Expose Spammers to RICO Act

Howard Carmack, the notorious 'Buffalo Spammer' accused of sending more than 825 million unsolicited e-mails from illegal EarthLink accounts, has been arrested and arraigned in New York on four felony and two misdemeanor counts.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer heralded the case as the first criminal prosecution of a spammer under New York's six-month-old identity-theft statute. "Spammers who forge documents and steal the identity of others to create their e-mail traffic will be prosecuted," Spitzer said at a press conference.

Spitzer lauded the cooperation of EarthLink in aiding the year-long investigation the resulted in the arrest of Carmack outside his upstate New York home.

The arrest of Carmack came just a week after the Atlanta-based ISP won a $16 million judgment against a spam ring he allegedly operated.

Carmack is accused of stealing credit cards and identities to fraudulently buy 343 EarthLink accounts to send shady and unwanted e-mail for such things as herbal therapy. Prosecutors said they do not yet know how he acquired the credit card information. He is also accused of banking fraud and other illegal activities arising from his spam operation, which authorities believe he operated on his own.

Spitzer said Carmack's spam cost EarthLink at least $1 million in bandwidth charges, although prosecutors believe he made little money from his endeavors.

"He is a predicate felon and he's somebody we believe could face jail time if convicted," Spitzer said.

EarthLink VP of law and public policy Dave Baker applauded the decision by the N.Y. attorney general's office to arrest Carmack. "Howard Carmack's arrest demonstrates that spamming has both civil and criminal consequences. Simply put, spammers who brazenly disregard the law will wind up in jail," Baker said in a statement.

After a year-long investigation, EarthLink filed suit against Carmack, alleging that his crew sent out millions of e-mails that included advertisements for computer virus scripts, get-rich-quick and "work at home" schemes, software for bulk mailing and lists of addresses to be used by other spammers.

He was accused of assuming the identities of his own family members and innocent third-parties to obscure his own identity.

EarthLink has a history of anti-spam success stories, including an injunction in 1997 against Sanford Wallace, then known as "most prolific spammer."

* Brian Morrissey contributed to this story.






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