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Spam The Almighty Buck The Internet

Meet Millionaire Spammer Jeremy Jaynes 379

prostoalex writes "Associated Press profiles Jeremy Jaynes, charged with sending out unsolicited e-mail messages, who just got a 9-year jail term recommendation from the state jury. With the help of 16 'high-speed' lines (Associated Press probably meant T1s) Jaynes would send out 10 million e-mails a day. His best month in terms of gross income netted him $750,000. Acccording to the article, 'In a typical month, prosecutors said during the trial, Jaynes might receive 10,000 to 17,000 credit card orders, thus making money on perhaps only one of every 30,000 e-mails he sent out. But he earned $40 a pop, and the undertaking was so vast that Jaynes could still pull in $400,000 to $750,000 a month, while spending perhaps $50,000 on bandwidth and other overhead, McGuire said. "When you're marketing to the world, there are enough idiots out there" who will be suckered in, McGuire said in an interview.'"
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Meet Millionaire Spammer Jeremy Jaynes

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  • by fembots ( 753724 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:41PM (#10815294) Homepage
    So with this kind of high-profile "financial report", are we going to see more spammers? Seriously speaking, my spam count hasn't dropped a bit since the elimination of these 10 million spams a day. It's like that terrorism saying: If you killed Bin Laden, two more will come out to replace him.

    This Jeremy is reportedly earning $400,000 to $750,000 a month, while spending perhaps $50,000 on bandwidth and other overhead.

    Imagine if you can work 1 year without getting caught, and wisely transfered your incomes to safe place, you are basically earning $1 million a year by sitting in the prison doing some workouts, or even get a law degree specialised in anti-spam. And you wonder why there are more spams everyday?
    • by spuzzzzzzz ( 807185 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:49PM (#10815346) Homepage
      The significance of this case is that it applies a fairly harsh penalty for spamming. Of course it won't eliminate spam, but it will probably (hopefully) make spammers more aware of the consequences.

      Imagine if you can work 1 year without getting caught

      Imagine if you could work your whole life without getting caught. Because that was the situation before this verdict. Of course there are still strong financial incentives to spam, but with verdicts like this one, the incentives become weaker.
    • by lukewarmfusion ( 726141 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:57PM (#10815414) Homepage Journal
      You're so right it's scary. I'm reading this thinking, if I were given a million dollars a year maybe I wouldn't hate spam so much.

      People go to jail for much less money... and since there are loopholes to be found and exploited, spamming is an attractive business.

      Corporations contract out for spyware programs. Political groups contract out for viruses. If the money is there, it will be a temptation. You can't end if forever, but you can make it harder to do and much riskier.
    • by DJ Kveldulv ( 829139 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:57PM (#10815417)
      Ive seen a slight drop in spam over the last 6 months. Making it illegal for merchants/affiliate programs to knowingly accept spammer's traffic would cut it down even more IMO. The Can-Spam regulations have meant few Porn Affiliate programs will take any and all spam traffic they can get. Most now require CanSpam compliance.... still, hardcore spammers are still going to spam hard, laws or no laws.
    • Depends (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:58PM (#10815433)
      If enough of them start going to jail, it'll probably help. Also as spam filters get better, profits will go down. The spam system we used to have was maybe 50% efficient, meaning about half the spam it recieved, it failed to filter. The new one (Barracuda) is probably 90-95% efficient. Means where a spammer had to send an average of 2 messages before to get through, now they have to send 10-20. It also shuts down on them much quicker so they can't hit the whole domain as easy.

      Now there's been stories on /. about new spam filtering technologies in the works that are 99.9% or better (some saying 99.999%). If stuff like that hgets popular, it'll be a real bitch. Means you'd have to send between 1,000-1,000,000 e-mails on average to get through.

      It's not a winnable war as in someday all spam will suddenly stop and no one will ever try again, but it's winnable in that between lawsuits, jail terms, and better filters we can make it a much less attractive bussiness.
      • Means you'd have to send between 1,000-1,000,000 e-mails on average to get through.

        And you know what people those messages are likely to get to? Those who don't have spam filters, and so likely those people who don't understand it, and therefore... Ding Ding Ding... those people who are most likely to become "customers."

        I suppose that spam getting filtered out at the ISP, companywide, or campuswide level would probably cut out access to a fair number of marks, though.
    • Well, from my personal observation, while there has been no decrease in spam, I have been noticing a diversification in the scams they are selling. Spammers are moving away from mortgages, get rich quick schemes, and pills(though they still are invested heavily in that area) to areas previously dominated by real life grifters-fake merchandise(esp. Rolex watches), "free" tvs, ipods, etc, and it also seems prostitution.
      Sorry thing is, the same people will probably fall for these as fell for this guy's scam.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:44PM (#10815311)
    who just got a 9-year jail term recommendation from the state jury

    9 years in the slammer getting unsolicited gifts from Bubba? Wow! I bet at least one of the jurors purchased a penis enlarger and, let's say, wasn't totally satisfied with the results...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Ah yes, Slashdot, the site that automatically mods rape jokes +5 funny.
    • If he was making hundreds of thousands of dollars per month it was all worth it. He probably made at least a few million dollars and he will probably be paroled in a couple of years. A few years in jail in exchange for a few million? I'd take that.
    • Rather than the chipper AOL greeting, he'll be hearing in a deep, growling voice:

      You've got MALE!
  • by seizer ( 16950 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:45PM (#10815317) Homepage
    The "McGuire" quoted here is the Attorney General, not the spammer. He's the one who states that he thinks people are idiots, not the spammer.

    Mind you, the spammer will know that people are idiots :-)
  • C.R.E.A.M (Score:4, Insightful)

    by madsenj37 ( 612413 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:46PM (#10815327)
    This article will just encourage people to make a living spamming with that much potential money.
  • by Naikrovek ( 667 )
    for those of us that are greedy, this seems like an attractive option, with the obvious exception of the jail term.

    whatever you do, always make sure you make spamming attractive to those of us who are short on money. cripes.
  • by 6Yankee ( 597075 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:51PM (#10815366)

    Prosecutors don't know how he got the lists, though McGuire said the AOL names matched a list of 92 million addresses an AOL software engineer has been charged with stealing. However Jaynes got them, they were particularly valuable because AOL customers and eBay users by their very nature have already shown a willingness to engage in e-commerce.

    Or particularly valuable because AOL users are, well, AOL users?

  • by grnchile ( 305671 ) * on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:51PM (#10815370)
    Some additional details, including a charming picture, are available in his hometown paper:

    http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1828341p-81 41513c.html [newsobserver.com]

    Yes - they were T1 lines.
  • When someone actually pays for the products or services, do they not receive them or are the products received not as described?

    • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:00PM (#10815451)
      When someone actually pays for the products or services, do they not receive them or are the products received not as described?

      The work-at-home 'offers' are merely "Here is a list of companies. Write to them and see if they'll hire you to work at home"

      or stuffing envelopes. What you really end up doing is stuffing envelopes with "Here is how to make money stuffing envelopes. Please send $19.95"

      Technically, what you've gotten is what you ordered. But what you ordered was not-quite-legal.

      • But what about the other stuff? You know, hair products, reproductory organ amelioration ointments, and things of that sort. When there's an actual product that is "advertised," is the order actually filled?

        • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @08:40PM (#10816160)
          Probably (more or less). If you order 'Penis Enlargement Cream" for $24.95, and get a tube of anonymous goo worth about $0.07, would you say that the order has been filled?

          The other problem lies in getting a refund once you've figured out that you've been ripped off.
          Mr. Jeremy Spammer isn't a wholesaler, but merely a cashier. He has no inventory. You send your money to him, he takes his cut and moves the order on the the actual seller. They send you the 'stuff'. You want your money back, but the only contact is who you sent the money to, Mr. Jeremy Spammer. He has since moved onto a different business name and contact info. You have little chance of getting a refund.

          J. Spammer has his cut, the wholesaler has their cut, and you have a tube of goo.

  • Some quick math: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sssmashy ( 612587 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:55PM (#10815403)

    $40 per order

    1 order per every 30,000 spam

    est. $24,000,000 net worth = 600,000 orders = 18,000,000,000 spams

    9 years jail time = 283,824,000 seconds

    So the ratio is 63.4 spam messages per second of prison time

    • All those spammers that argue that spam is no big deal and no huge inconvinenece. We agree, so the amount of jail time for each on is trivial, fractions of a second for a spam. It just adds up :)

      (Yes I know that's not how the sentence was arrived at).
  • what about the $? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by evilmousse ( 798341 )


    will he still be a millionaire when he gets out of jail?

    is he serving his sentence in min-sec alongside martha stewart?

    maybe i should re-think my long-term investments, I could do 9 min-sec years for a few mil.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I haven't had any problem with spam for years.
  • Well with 9 years in prison, all that money will probably be useful in bribing prison guards to protect him from some old-fashioned prison treatment :D
  • by Dimensio ( 311070 ) <darkstar.iglou@com> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:02PM (#10815470)
    ...but no one else seems to agree with me that convicted email spammers should be slowly tortured to death.
  • parasites (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:03PM (#10815473) Homepage Journal
    Karl Rove, Bush's political controller, made his career in junk mail ("Direct Marketing"). He has had similar success, with better performance, fueled by a similar attitude towards his market: American voters. Think his "boss" will run a Justice Department intolerant of spammers like Jaynes? Or recruit from their ranks to move from victory to victory, at our expense?
    • Re:parasites (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:18PM (#10815596) Journal
      Rove didn't send his junk mail with postage due.

      • Yet another reason that old veteran faces competition from the young turks living the dream on the Internet. Although some would say the $10T debt that Rove has masterminded is the priciest stamp ever.
    • Re:parasites (Score:3, Insightful)

      Think his "boss" will run a Justice Department intolerant of spammers like Jaynes?

      OK, I'm scratching my head on this one. Bush is President. A spammer just got 9 years in prison for spamming. So I guess the answer is yes?

      • Guess again: a spammer got 9 years. Any less spam in your mailbox? Until there's a real risk of incarceration or other proportional remedies to spammer damage, that measurably inhibit spammers, the Justice Department's policy will fall more in the "tolerant" range than "intolerant".
    • Re:parasites (Score:4, Informative)

      by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @09:04PM (#10816308) Homepage Journal

      I don't know anything about Karl Rove, but my experience has been that the majority of direct marketing associations don't like regular spammers.

      Direct marketers would like to be able to send people emails as much as everyone else, and I'm not trying to argue that this is a good thing. There are many sorts of direct marketers, however, and not all of them want to spam as many people as possible using brute force.

      But their reputation is damaged by spammers who use very shady techniques to market directly to people. eg. Faking headers, distributing via viruses or infected machines, routing email through China where SMTP servers may be less secure, redirecting bounce messages to fake addresses (often innocent unsuspecting people with email accounts) essentially trying to hide the source of their emails, and selling illegal products.

      Whichever way you spin it, these aren't ethical business practices, and if they're not against the law then there are a lot of legislators who would like to shut them down if it could be done cleanly.

      I'm pretty sure that most direct marketers would like this person to be stopped as much as everyone else, simply because he's not doing them any favours by making people dislike direct marketing.

    • Re:parasites (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jemfinch ( 94833 )
      Think his "boss" will run a Justice Department intolerant of spammers like Jaynes?

      It would be a great day indeed when our only complaint about the American Justice Department is that it didn't prosecute spammers agressively.

  • by Magickcat ( 768797 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:10PM (#10815522)
    I bet he's now praying that none of his fellow inmates have purchased penis enlargement pills.

  • Jaynes might receive 10,000 to 17,000 credit card orders, thus making money on perhaps only one of every 30,000 e-mails he sent out.

    We now have clinching proof that there exist at least 200,000 complete suckers in the world.
  • by Nichevo ( 712615 )
    I can just see it now the next big SPAM message to be making the rounds: You too can be making $300,000 to $750,000 a month for only a few minutes a day - just buy this simple software that makes it all happen while you sleep. Be in quick and we will throw in a free bottle of viagra.
  • Humanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by payndz ( 589033 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:31PM (#10815704)
    Sometimes I wonder, 'Are there really still enough people out there greedy, naive and stupid enough to fall for spammers, phishers and 419ers and make them millionaires?

    Then I think, 'Oh, wait. Human beings. Guh.' And I get depressed. Because I'm one of them, which makes me just as vulnerable to some new scam that has a bit more intelligence behind it...

  • by zentec ( 204030 ) * <zentec@gmPOLLOCKail.com minus painter> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:44PM (#10815799)
    The sending of the spam was bad enough, the bigger problem is that this putz was engaging in fraud, plain and simple.

    His attorney can argue free speech and the unconstitutional aspects of the CAN-SPAM act all he wants, the fact remains that he misled people using spam and sold them products and services of no value whatsoever.

    Crime does indeed pay, and this shows it pays handsomely. Now the courts need to AGAIN provide some negative reinforement of that fact and lock this clown away with Andrew Fastow and the rest of the classic white collar criminals.

  • Idiots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hkb ( 777908 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:53PM (#10815881)
    "When you're marketing to the world, there are enough idiots out there"

    Those "idiots" often being trusting elderly people who don't know any better,perhaps your mother, your father, your grandmother.
    • Re:Idiots? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Repton ( 60818 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @10:29PM (#10816776) Homepage

      Well, y'know, twenty, thirty, forty years ago, these elderly people were adults in the prime of their lives. And fraudsters selling snake oil are not exactly a new phenomonon.

      How old do you have to be before you stop being an idiot and start being a trusting elderly person who doesn't know any better?

  • The sentencing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Henrik S. Hansen ( 775975 ) <hsh@member.fsf.org> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:58PM (#10815911) Homepage
    He gets 9 years? I think that's very extreme. In Denmark, my country, murderers can get less than that (IIRC, 16 years is max. penalty for any crime, incl. manslaughter).

    Seriously, think about getting 9 years cut off your life. It's a very long time. And he only sent out some bulk advertising.

    The issue here is how cultures and nations view people. In Denmark, the focus is on treatment of both criminals and their victims -- it's not just an issue of retaliation against the criminal. In the same spirit, noone (or only a miniscule minority) in Denmark wants the death penalty, it's totally against the danish way of thinking.

    This is one of the reasons I like living in Denmark. In my mind, it's the mark of a modern nation to make an effort to resocialize criminals -- it's backwards to only say 'an eye for an eye'.

    • Re:The sentencing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DongleFondle ( 655040 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @09:13PM (#10816374)
      Well, you Danish are a beautiful people. However, In the Good ol' "Yew Es a' Aye", we call it the "justice" system for a reason. The historical backing reaching all the way to our present justice system does not believe in punishment for rehabilitation or even to act as a deterrent for crime (although many in this country argue that strong sentencing deters crime, this is complete bunk and there is absolutely NO evidence to support such a theory).

      No, the reason for our criminal punishment system in the US has always been and still is compensation for the victim and/or victim's families, and as a plain simple punishment to those who have done wrong. As you so aptly put, "An eye for an eye", is just the way most people see things here. American's LOVE justice! They love to hate criminals, and they love to punish them. That is, until they find through the varying circumstances of life that they are all of sudden on the other side of the criminal fence, be it a speeding ticket or a drunken bar fight. Why THEN, you've never seen such righteous indignation at the brutal inequality of our laws. ;-)

      You're way may well be a better way of dealing with crime, but trust me, things are not changing around here anytime soon.
    • Re:The sentencing (Score:3, Informative)

      by ravenspear ( 756059 )
      And he only sent out some bulk advertising.

      Wrong. He also committed fraud. He was selling products that he knew didn't do what he said they did.
    • Re:The sentencing (Score:5, Informative)

      by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @10:17PM (#10816714) Homepage Journal
      He gets 9 years? I think that's very extreme....It's a very long time. And he only sent out some bulk advertising.

      He got 9 years for criminal fraud because he was fraudelently selling goods. Basically everything he sold was a complete scam. He committed literally many many milltions of dollars in fraud (half a million dollars a month on average). The fact that he did this by scamming hundreds and thousands of people out of a small amount of cash instead of the usual where you scam a few people for vast sums of money each doesn't really make a difference in the total amount of harm he caused.

      To some extent I agree, 9 years is harsh, but it is in line with the rest of US sentencing, which is equally harsh. Just keep in mind: 9 years in jail for multi-million dollar fraud, not 9 years in jail for bulk advertising.

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @08:34PM (#10816122) Homepage Journal
    9 years for spam in VIRGINIA the birthplace of the Tax FREE Televangelical Money Church? The home of the 700 Club and Jerry Falwell? The prosecutor should rot in fucking hell forever.
  • by calstraycat ( 320736 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @08:48PM (#10816193)
    Hey, I'm all for putting the perpetrators of fraud behind bars, but sure wish they would go after the big fish.

    I guess the lesson here is that it's better commit fraud publicly on a massive scale -- and have friends in high places -- then it is to commit fraud quietly from your back bedroom.
    • Ken Lay was arrested and is out on bail. See him in handcuffs here. [downside.com]

      First the prosecutors went after Ben Glisan, Enron's treasurer. He's now Federal inmate #20293-179 at FDC Houston and is scheduled for release in 2008.

      Once Glisan talked, the prosecutors went after Andrew Fastow, Enron's CFO, and his wife, who helped with those "offshore entities". She's now inmate #20290-179 at FDC Houston and is scheduled for release in 2005. Andrew Fastow has pled guilty and is "cooperating with prosecutors", whic

      • All true. But, I won't be satisfied until his butt is sitting in a penitentiary -- for life. If the spammer gets nine years, then I think Mr. Lay would need a significantly longer term if convicted.

        Anyway, I hope my cynicism is misplaced this time, but savings and loan debacle of the eighties left me a bit jaded. They finally convicted a few of the high profile racketeers, but only sent them to a country club prison for a couple of years.

        Before you knew it, they were out writing books and teaching econom
  • by mikew03 ( 186778 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @09:25PM (#10816421)
    1) Why aren't Visa/Mastercard/AMEX/Etc... also liable in cases like this? It seems like we could put a huge brake on Spam if the credit card companies had some responsibility? Also why would the bank cards tolerate this anyway, the chargeback rate must have been enourmous.

    2) How did he hook into the internet with 5 high speed lines that did nothing but send email all day? Surely this traffic could be detected and blocked at the source.

    3) How come spam doesn't burn out like a pyramid scheme? Surely the number of gullible people are finite. All of these spammers use the same lists. There has to be a point where every single person spammable has been reached. And surely by the gigantic volume we all get we must be close to that point.
  • Penalty for spammers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zathras26 ( 763537 ) <pianodwarf@gmail. c o m> on Monday November 15, 2004 @12:13AM (#10817294)

    How does this sound?

    Spammers don't get a fixed prison sentence. Instead, you put them in a prison cell that has an electronic lock with a keypad inside the cell. The combination is, say, twelve digits long, so there's no way in hell the prisoner can ever guess it.

    Now you give the spammer a dumb terminal with shell access and an email account (incoming only) and no spam filtering. You send him the same amount of spam each day that he was sending out, except that one of the incoming emails will have the combination to the door. He has to find it himself. Until he can, he's stuck in the cell.

    Poetic justice. Just as we regular users have to go to all this trouble with spam filtering and everything else, he'll have to go crazy looking for the combination that will allow him to regain his freedom.

  • by Biomechanical ( 829805 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @12:35AM (#10817384) Homepage

    9 years in prison for what amounts to shoddy dealings.

    Who was killed by Jeremy? Who was maimed by Jeremy? Who was raped by Jeremy?

    Sure, fraud isn't nice, but wouldn't a more effective punishment, and deterrent for others, be to simply take away everything he's bought and accrued?

    All money? Gone. All property? Gone. Divide it up and spread it around his home state's health and education services.

    Make him bankrupt and let him get back on his feet like any other poor person with the threat hanging over his head that if he does one more illegal thing to do with fraud or money, then into prison he goes for a couple of years.

    Murder, Rape, Arson, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Armed Robbery... Things that actually do people or property physical harm can get less time than this.

    His sentence isn't justice, it's ego-driven revenge.

    • by dubl-u ( 51156 ) * <2523987012@po t a . to> on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:04AM (#10817757)
      9 years in prison for what amounts to shoddy dealings. [...] Who was killed by Jeremy? Who was maimed by Jeremy? Who was raped by Jeremy?

      I'm sure you think it's reasonable when a multiple murderer gets multiple sentences, right? Ok, good. Next decide what you think an appropriate sentence for stealing $40 is. Ready? Let's do some math.

      The articles are lacking in hard numbers, but suppose that this guy ran his operation for a year, and that he averaged 10,000 suckers a month. That would mean 120,000 people defrauded. So 9 years would mean circa 39 minutes of time served per victim.

      And that doesn't leave anything left over for the millions of people bothered by his spam, the millions of dollars in other people's resources he consumed, the time consumed in many months of tracking him down, or the harm done to the fabric of trust that makes internet commerce possible.

      So no, turning him loose and saying, "Naughty naughty!" doesn't seem like appropriate punishment. Especially given that this guy was a hardcore scammer for years, one who set up more than 30 fake companies to hide his dealings.
  • by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @01:17AM (#10817548) Homepage
    Any idea what will happen if you tell all slashdot geeks how much they could be making if they were spammers?

    Sure there will always be someone spamming our mailboxes, but put out the bait to the smartest bunch, and youve just made the world a miserable place (at least online).

    The govt should post a reward of $700,000 for anyone who seeks and gets enough spammers to reduce online spam by 2% or something. Being on morality's side, greedy slashdotters could then clean up the Internet, at least in western countries.
  • by Dusabre ( 176445 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @10:48AM (#10819719) Homepage
    I find the many moderated comments concerning the spammers imminent ass-rape to be offensive.

    Nobody deserves to be sexually abused. If you find torture exciting or a 'fitting' punishment, then you're a sadist.

    Another thing to note is that he's not going to get gangbanged. Spamming is a non-violent crime. He'll get sent to a low-medium security prison.He's rich and that means he's protected in prison. All he has to do is pay the big man (if there is one at the country-club prison he goes to) a $100,000 a year and his ass will be protected 24/7/365. If there is no big man, he can buy himself a bodyguard or five.

    And he'll get parole in 4 years unless he really misbehaves in prison.

    He'll probably spend the next 4 years bored and wondering exactly how many ho's he'll bang and how many lines of coke he'll do, once he gets out. He'll probably be able to purchase both sex and drugs doing his time behind bars.

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