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Man Sentenced For Luring Kids

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Dec 11, 2003 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
NEW YORK, NY – A Florida man who was arrested in September for using misleading website addresses to lure children to porn sites was sentenced by a federal judge to three years in prison. The case was heard by U.S. District Judge Michael B. Mukasey in Manhattan.

John Zuccarini, 56, was found guilty of registering thousands of misleading domain names on the Internet with intent to misdirect children looking for sites on the Teletubbies, Britney Spears, and Disneyland to hard core adult sites.

At the peak of his operation Zuccarini owned an estimated 3,000 Internet addresses, many of which, say prosecutors, were slightly misspelled URLS for sites that might attract young children.

Zuccarini admitted in court at a previous hearing to having deliberately targeted children because he knew they were more apt to misspell web addresses than adults.

According to reports, Zuccarini was paid by the websites in question for each user he misdirected, and he reportedly grossed more than $1 million last year alone. On average, he made between 10 cents and 25 cents for every user led to websites he was hired by, says Reuters. Not all of them were porn sites.

Zuccarini reportedly admitted to 49 counts of using domain names to direct minors to nudity or sexually explicit content. Each count is punishable by up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Zuccarini also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing 12 images of child pornography that were stored on his laptop, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison with a $250,000 fine.

According to reports, Zuccarini was sued more than a 100 times by organizations like Dow Jones and The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues for misusing their domain names.

Zuccarini was also the first person charged under The Amber Alert law, which makes it crime to attract children to pornographic websites.

Zuccarini is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 20.

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