RealTime IT News

Feds Continue Spam Porno Crackdown

A New Hampshire woman is facing up to 15 years in prison for violating the CAN SPAM Act after taking a Monday guilty plea to sending bulk pornographic spam e-mails.

According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), Jennifer R. Clason, 33, created and transmitted the spam on behalf of Jeffrey A. Kilbride, 39, of Venice, Calif., and James R. Schaffer, 39, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., who are also facing federal charges.

The DoJ said the smut spam operation generated more than 600,000 complaints from America Online users between January and June of 2004.

Clason agreed to forfeit money obtained in the commission of the crimes and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each of the two spamming and one criminal conspiracy offenses.

The indictment also charged Kilbride and Schaffer with two counts of interstate transportation of obscene material using an interactive computer service, two counts of interstate transportation of obscene material for the purpose of sale or distribution and one count of money laundering.

Schaffer was also charged with one count of operating three pornographic Internet Web sites without including required statements describing the location of identification and other records for the performers portrayed in the Web sites, as is required by federal law.

The indictment further alleges that the spam sent by the defendants advertised pornographic Internet Web sites in order to earn commissions for directing Internet traffic to these sites.

The DoJ claims that graphic pornographic images were embedded in each of the defendants' e-mails. Four counts of the indictment charged felony obscenity offenses for transmitting hard-core pornographic images of adults engaged in explicit sexual conduct, which meet the Supreme Court's test for adult obscenity.

Kilbride and Schaffer, according to the DoJ, also created offshore companies named The Compliance Company and Ganymede Marketing to conceal and disguise their activities.

The indictment charges Kilbride and Schaffer with utilizing overseas accounts in Mauritius and the Isle of Man for the purpose of laundering and distributing the proceeds of the spamming operation.

Two other individuals, Andrew D. Ellifson, 31, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Kirk F. Rogers, 43, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., have already pleaded guilty to charges under the CAN-SPAM Act related to the spamming operation. Sentencing for Ellifson and Rogers is scheduled for June 5 in Phoenix.

Sentencing for Clason is set for June 5 while the trial of Kilbride and Schaffer is scheduled for June 6.