Spammer Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – Jeremy Jaynes, the first man convicted in America on felony counts of illegal spamming, has received a nine year prison sentence for his role in sending out millions of unsolicited commercial emails.

Once considered to be among the dozen most prolific spammers in the world, the 30 year old North Carolina man was convicted this past November for using spam emails to sell online pornography as well as bogus products and services – earning him as much as $750,000 per month from his criminal enterprise.

Prosecutors presented 53,000 illegal emails, sent using false aliases and return email addresses, as evidence against Jaynes, but suspect that he was responsible for sending up to 10 million unwanted emails daily. Jaynes was convicted under Virginia law, which makes sending unsolicited bulk email illegal if its sender intentionally masks his true identity.

Virginia law was applicable as Jaynes sent the emails through an America Online mail server located at AOL's headquarters in Loudoun County, Virginia.

Jaynes' prison term will not begin quite yet, however, as Loudoun County Circuit Judge Thomas Horne has delayed the execution of Jaynes' sentence until an appeal on the conviction can be heard. Despite the unanimous jury decision, the judge based his restraint upon constitutional concerns over such an untested area of law.

While confident that the conviction will stand, Prosecutor Lisa Hicks-Thomas' victory will be tested on appeal by Jaynes' defense attorney, David Oblon. Arguing that the nine year sentence was excessive and under a law inapplicable to his client, Oblon will also challenge the constitutionality of the Virginia law.

"We have no doubt that we will win on appeal, therefore any sentence is somewhat moot," said Oblon. "Still, the sentence is not what we recommended and we're disappointed."

"I can guarantee the court I will not be involved in the email marketing business again," said Jaynes, who is free on a $1 million bond.

In the original trial, Jessica DeGroot, Jaynes's sister, was also convicted, with a jury recommended $7,500 fine. The judge later dismissed both the fine, and her conviction. Another defendant, Richard Rutkowski, was acquitted by the jury of all charges.