AOL Mailing List Thief Jason Smathers Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison

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Jason Smathers, who pleaded guilty to stealing a list of 92 million email addresses from America Online (AOL), has been sentenced to one year and three months in prison. According to reports, Judge Alvin Hellerstein gave Smathers a sentence on the lenient side both because the judge believed that Smathers was genuinely repentant, and because Smathers had been extremely cooperative from the moment the case was brought.

In fact, Jason Smathers had tried to plead guilty earlier on, however the Court rejected his plea as at the time it was not clear to the Court that Smathers had in fact broken the law under which he was being charged, although it was clear that he had broken some law.

In a letter which Smathers wrote, and which U.S. Attorney David Siegal (a classmate of Aunty’s! Way to go, David!) read to the court, Smather’s said “Cyberspace is a new and strange place. I was good at navigating in that frontier and I became an outlaw.”

While AOL has said that Smather’s crime cost them an estimated $400,000, Judge Hellerstein stated that the amount seemed subjective.
The far greater damage, in my estimation, is that there is still a list of 92 million AOL email addresses, belonging to 30 million AOLcustomers, being circulated among and used by spammers. The real damage is that being done to AOL’s customers.

In an interesting and related note, Judge Hellerstein said that he stopped using his own AOL account back in December because ..wait for it …he was getting too much spam.

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3 thoughts on “AOL Mailing List Thief Jason Smathers Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison

  1. I used to work with Jason at the AOL call center in Albuquerque. I am surprised he went to such a level but money makes people do strange things. He used to be hard worker.

  2. shoot, I wish I knew who was buying screenames since I have hundreds spammed to me daily. 15mos is a long time in the life of a young man.
    Hope he learns a good lesson and resolves never to try the easy way again

  3. Why does this guy get off with only 15 months in jail, while the poor guy in Texas, who sucked up a little unused wi-fi got many years in prison. Something is not right with this picture.

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