Teen Pleads Guilty in First ‘Spim’ Case

Rhett Pardon
LOS ANGELES — In the first case of its kind, a New York teen plead guilty in federal court Monday for sending spam via instant messaging.

Charged with violating the Can-Spam Act, Anthony Greco of Cheektowaga, N.Y., sent 1.5 million instant messages offering online adult sites and mortgage refinancing to MySpace.com users last fall, according to court documents.

Greco, 18, also allegedly threatened more “spim” if MySpace didn't hire him as a consultant.

Greco flew to Los Angeles hoping to be granted exclusive rights to send commercial email to users of the MySpace.com only to be arrested by officers from the Secret Service and LAPD after he stepped off the plane.

Spokesman Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney’s Office told XBiz it was the first spim case to reach federal court.

In an unrelated case, a Virginia trial court affirmed the nation's first felony jury verdict and prison sentence on a North Carolina man for sending large quantities of spam.

The case is believed to be the country’s first felony conviction for spam.

Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne found, however, that there was no “rational basis” to convict the defendant's sister of the same offense. Jeremy Jaynes, the brother, was convicted by a jury in November.

The court, dismissing her conviction, said that the jury likely was “lost” in the technical details of Virginia's anti-spam law.

Jaynes allegedly sent tens of thousands of spam to America Online subscribers over three days in July 2003, using a credit card and checks bearing his sister's maiden name to purchase domain names.

Jaynes’ attorney David A. Oblon said he would appeal the nine-year sentence at a sentencing hearing next month, and, if necessary, take the sentence to the state Court of Appeals.