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RealTime IT News

Suspected Melissa Virus Creator Caught

The suspected creator of the e-mail virus Melissa was arrested in New Jersey Thursday night.

New Jersey officials confirmed David L. Smith, 30, of Aberdeen, was arrested Thursday night at his brother's house in Eatontown, N.J.

Smith allegedly launched the virus from his apartment in Aberdeen, but officials said they didn't think the virus originated there. He was charged with interfering with public communication, which could bring a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and as much as a $50,000 fine. Smith was later released on $100,000 bail.

Smith was caught with the help of America Online, according to Rita Malley, a spokesperson for the New Jersey attorney general's office.

"We got a phone call two days ago from an attorney at AOL. They essentially gave us the radius and we were able to pinpoint Smith's address as the souce."

Malley wouldn't reveal what evidence led invesigators to make the arrest. But she said he is not VicodinES, a virus writer who experts initially thought was responsible for Melissa.

Melissa was launched a week ago and caused major e-mail disruptions in companies and government agencies.