'Buffalo Spammer' Charged In Fraud Case
By Mark Harrington
Date: May 15, 2003
ATLANTA -- When spammer-hunting attorney Paul "Pete" Wellborn III finally got through by phone to Howard Carmack last October, the accused "Buffalo Spammer" was defiant, Wellborn said from his office on Peachtree Street Wednesday.
"You'll never catch me," Carmack is said to have told Wellborn, a private attorney at Wellborn & Butler working for Internet service provider, EarthLink. "Nothing's in my name."
On Monday, that alleged boast came back to haunt Carmack, who became the first person in New York state to be charged under tough new identity theft laws. The charges stem from his alleged practice of opening up hundreds of Internet service accounts on EarthLink to send hundreds of millions of unwanted emails.
The arrest is product of the tough new stance on the part of state and federal law enforcement against the sending of bulk unwanted email, a practice that costs corporations and government billions each year in lost productivity, and clogs consumer email boxes with hundreds of daily offers for cheap mortgages, drugs and financial schemes.
Carmack "stole the identities of innocent New Yorkers to spam millions of consumers throughout New York and the nation," said New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, whose office brought the case, in a prepared statement.
Charges against Carmack, 36, of Buffalo, comprise four felony counts and two misdemeanors, stemming from a scheme to send "hundreds of millions of forged spam emails through accounts opened using stolen identities," according to Spitzer. Carmack pleaded not guilty in Buffalo City Court, which set his bail at $20,000. He has not made bail and could not be reached for comment.
At one point, according to Wellborn, Carmack was responsible for just over 10 percent of the 8.75 billion spam emails sent on EarthLink each year.
Two federal laws seeking to block spam have already been proposed, and large Internet firms such as America Online and Microsoft Network have filed suit against spammers. EarthLink just last week won a $16.4 million judgment against Carmack, one that comes with a civil injunction blocking him from ever sending spam email. Full story
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