More and more spammers are being caught and prosecuted for their crimes. This has invariably led to countless spammers being labeled 'Spam Kings'. But who actually deserves the title, king of kings? The following ten spammers are all heavyweight contenders for the crown.
Half of them have done time or are still guests of the US federal government. Two are dead. Most of the rest have been fined millions for their misdeeds. Which one truly deserves the title of King? Read on to find out.
Aliases: batch1, n1hustler4life
Current Status: Serving 30 Months in prison
Along with partner Todd Moeller, Vitale was part of the g00dfellas spam gang that specialised in pump-and-dump spam - artificially boosting a worthless company's stock price so insiders can dump the shares at a profit. In June 2007, Vitale pleaded guilty to violating the Federal CAN-SPAM Act by flooding 1.3 million AOL email addresses with spam in the space of a week.
Not your typical geek gone bad, Vitale's rap sheet boasted 22 prior convictions. He had a reputation for welching on his partners - no wonder he got ratted out by a confidential informant working with the US Secret Service. A plea bargain netted Vitale a 30-month sentence and a $180,000 (£104,000) fine. (Partner-in-crime Moeller got 27 months.)
At one point, 28-year-old Vitale boasted about making more than $40,000 (£23,000) a week. Now he'll be making license plates at a federal penitentiary.
Spam Royalty Rank: Lord of Licence Plates
Alias: Gaven Stubberfield
Current Status: A free man
Using a stolen database of more than 90 million AOL customers, Jaynes and his sister Jessica DeGroot pumped out spam 24/7 from their home in the US. They earned $400,000 (£230,000) to $750,000 (£406,000) a month hawking get-rich-quick schemes and 'horsey porn' (don't ask). But in spamming AOL subscribers, he trespassed on their servers, running afoul of the tough antispam statute.
In November 2004, Jaynes was found guilty of sending unsolicited bulk email from falsified addresses and sentenced to nine years in prison. Last month, however, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the law was overly broad and restricted Jayne's First Amendment rights. The 34-year-old is free again to spread his special brand of equine love around the world.
Spam Royalty Rank: Viscount of Virginia
NEXT PAGE: Edward Davidson and Bill Waggoner
- But whose King of the Kings?
- Edward Davidson and Bill Waggoner
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- Our Kings of Spammers