Phishing Scammer Gets Seven Years

from the this-ought-to-make-some-folks-happy dept

People seem to get pretty excited whenever we have stories of spammers and scammers getting long jail sentences, so I’m sure plenty of folks will be happy to hear that a phishing scammer just got sentenced to seven years in prison. Considering that he was scamming people’s passwords to use elsewhere, this seems a lot more reasonable than the folks who get long jail sentences just for spamming. But, with all of these stories about spammers and phishers getting convicted, it always seems like the punishment is rather arbitrary. There’s no clear pattern at all.

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Comments on “Phishing Scammer Gets Seven Years”

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Overcast says:

While I have no love for these people, 7 years is awful long. When you consider some people get far less for crimes that are far more detrimental to their victims.

But then I guess whenever you do anything that has the potential of robbing an ‘aristocrat’ or mess with banks, corporations or the like – you got it coming.

Murder a common person – ehh, not so much.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Overcast

See reply by Ben.

I should also point out that banks are also partially responsible by not providing proper web security.

Anyways, effectively it is just a fraud and he/she should be punished just for that. I doubt if mail fraudsters get 7 years for their crimes. I am not a legal expert, but this seems to be a case of over-punishment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Overcast

“Anybody whose identity has been stolen is just paying for his/her stupidity.

^ That is the most ludicrous comment eveer made here on TechDirt. Did you ever hear of workers at retail stores, stealing CC info? Or low-level min.wage workers at an insurance firm, hired as temps just to do filing for a few weeks, stealing the information off the forms they are filing? What about the trash-pickers? I hope one of those gets this anonymous posters’ identity, just so he can realize how stupid his comment was.

Mike F.M says:

Re: Overcast

That is exactly my opinion.

People that are doing things such as spamming are getting longer sentences than someone who does a serious crime, even murder in some cases. It’s bloody stupid.

The whole idea of “it’s a serious offence as far as spamming goes” completely leaves out the fact that if a murderer or similar can get a smaller sentence, that is just wrong.

And they call this justice? I agree to making them help out in the area and improve security, not long prison sentences.

Jim Holloway says:

Re: Re:

While I have no love for these people, 7 years is awful long.

What about the time and money people have to pay to get their credit back in place and this puts their lives on hold till this is fixed.

I see this no different that breaking into someones home and stealing everything from them, there is no acceptable EXCUSE for anyone to do this to someone else.

M. F. says:


“…this seems a lot more reasonable than the folks who get long jail sentences just for spamming.”

I take great exception to this comment. In my view, anyone who intentionally acts in a way to make someone else’s life more difficult or less comfortable deserves 20 to life. We are all simply trying to get through the journey called life and don’t need any more roadblocks than exist naturally. People who get off on other people’s discomfort should not be allowed to live among the rest of us.

Jonathan (user link) says:

Extreme punishment to deter bad behavior...

Spamming, phishing, and other similar behaviors deliberately bend, misuse, or break the system. These behaviors allow a select group of deviants to profit (in highly unscrupulous, if not illegal ways) at the expense of the system as a whole. Since it is difficult to prevent the behavior before it occurs with the current setup, society needs to rely on extreme punishment to deter bad behavior. The punishment should not be so great as to seem ludicrous (loss of limbs or life, for example), but still be so great as to make the behavior not seem worth engaging in.

Coming at this from a different angle… Consider the number of person-hours of time and resources (of the public at large, not their own) the average spammer or phisher wastes with their actions. I suspect that it’s a formidably large number. Now take the sum of person-hours and multiply it by the average hourly income of those people. Take the sum of resource hours and multiply it by the average hourly cost of those resources. Add the two sums together. Now multiply by 10 (as a punitive measure). That’s probably a reasonable monetary fine to level against social deviants who spam/phish/etc. If you don’t multiply by average income/cost, but still apply the x10 punitive multiplier, that’s probably a reasonable prison sentence.

Ben says:


Actually, applying for credit online is fine, but typing in your password because “Paypal” was “compromised” and they are deactivating all accounts that don’t verify their bank acct # and username/password is not fine. Overcast stated that posting this information “to win an iphone” is ridiculous. Are you illiterate Computer Bob? Some places need specific, private information. It will always be worth it to check that you are at the URL that you are supposed to be (no mispellings or words in the address that don’t belong there) and that there is a little lock at the bottom of your browser to signify you are on a secure server. Doesn’t really take that much time.

Oh, and Jim Holloway, the difference between this and breaking in to your home is the difference between someone breaking in to your home and someone who tricks you into giving your key to them. Both situations involve someone stealing your sh!t, but in one scenario you are partly at fault. I agree that this shouldn’t really influence the sentence, but there is a difference.

Tony Eaton (profile) says:

Seems a bit backwards

To me, it seems like giving first-offense rapists 3 years and a password stealer 7 years is saying “we’d rather you rape someone than steal some passwords.” However, I’m not trying to turn this into a rape discussion, but it just seems… off.

Anywho, I’m glad that this did happen. The sentence doesn’t seem HIGHLY unreasonable, though (like many have said) you’d think it were super harsh when compared to rape.

Also, to the “I take great exception” poster. You sound like a prison guard or a cop or something. Not everything deserves 20 to life. We are tiny cogs in this huge society, and the last thing anyone wants to do is cooperate with another person without some kind of benefit. You shouldn’t be at all surprised that people are committing crimes to “get ahead” when you can’t even get someone to hold the door for you in public.

Prison isn’t supposed to be punishment, anyway, it’s for rehabilitation. Oddly, I really have never seen that aspect of it.

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