A man who sent 850 million junk e-mails through accounts he opened with stolen identities was sentenced to up to seven years in prison on Thursday.
Atlanta-based Internet service provider Earthlink Inc. said it hoped the sentence and an earlier $16.4 million civil judgment against Howard Carmack will deter other spammers.
"Before spammers send one more spam e-mail, we think they should remember that what happened to Howard Carmack can happen to them," said Karen Casion, Earthlink's assistant general counsel.
Jurors sentenced Carmack to seven years for convictions in March of forgery, identity theft and falsifying business records. He must serve a minimum 3 1/2 years.
Earthlink said Carmack ran 343 illegal e-mail accounts under false names from 2002 until his arrest last May, using them to send unsolicited e-mail ads for things like get-rich-quick schemes and sexual enhancers.
Carmack told the judge he believed the case against him was overblown, saying there were no victims. "I obviously regret this whole involvement," he said.
Carmack was convicted of defrauding EarthLink and eight men from New York, Ohio and Washington, D.C. Last May, the company won a $16.4 million civil judgment against Carmack.