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Zuccarini Sentenced

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Feb 27, 2004 3:00 PM PST    Text size: 
NEW YORK, NY – The man who registered thousands of website names based on misspelled celebrity and children's entertainment characters with intent to draw visitors to porn and marketing sites was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.

John Zuccarini, 56, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey and reportedly broke down in sobs when the sentence was handed down, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

Zuccarini was arrested in September on charges of creating at least 3,000 misleading domain names, such as dinseyland.com, that would redirect traffic to websites that hired Zuccarini on a per-user basis.

In some cases those website were pornographic and Zuccarini would profit from each misguided user, even if they were children. He was reportedly earning $1 million annually for his misdeeds, the AP reports.

"The defendant is accused of taking advantage of children's common mistakes and using that to profit by leading them by the hand into the seediest and most repugnant corners of cyberspace," the prosecutor was quoted as saying. "His alleged actions are not clever but criminal."

Prior to being arrested last year under the Amber Alert law and pleading guilty, Zuccarini had been in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for registering thousands of slightly misspelled celebrity and company names and conducting similar mousetrapping schemes.

According to the FTC, before Zuccarini focused his efforts on luring children to porn sites, he registered more than 5,500 copycat URLS to divert surfers from their intended Internet destinations to one of his sites and then pelted their screens with ads.

At the time of Zuccarini's sentencing, Attorney General John Ashcroft was quoted as saying that "those who violate the law and expose innocent children to pornography for their own financial gain will be prosecuted and they will serve time in jail."

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