Will the real spam king please stand up?

Many vie for the title, but only one can be crowned the true Spam King, Bane of Internet Users.

As more and more spammers are arrested, prosecuted, and sued under state and federal antispam statutes, there's one thing you can count on: Someone somewhere will invariably call the targeted spammer a "spam king."

It seems the bulk e-mail industry has more kings than a pinochle deck. But who is really the 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 federal government. Two are dead. Most of the rest have been fined millions by the FTC and/or private companies for their misdeeds.

Which one truly deserves the title of King? Read on to find out.

Adam Vitale

Aliases: batch1, n1hustler4life

Current Status: Serving 30 Months in US Prison

Along with partner Todd Moeller, Vitale was part of the g00dfellas spam gang that specialized in pump-and-dump spam--artificially boosting a worthless company's stock price so insiders can dump the shares at a profit. In July 2008, Vitale pleaded guilty to violating the Federal CAN-SPAM Act by flooding 1.3 million AOL e-mail 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 welshing 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 US$180,000 fine. (Partner-in-crime Moeller got 27 months.)

At one point, the 28-year-old Vitale boasted about making more than US$40,000 a week. Now he'll be making license plates at a federal penitentiary.

Spam Royalty Rank: Lord of License Plates

Jeremy Jaynes

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. They earned US$400,000 to $750,000 a month hawking get-rich-quick schemes and "horsey porn" (don't ask). But in spamming AOL subscribers, he trespassed on their servers in Virginia, running afoul of the state's tough antispam statute.

In November 2004, Jaynes was found guilty of sending unsolicited bulk e-mail 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

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags spam

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Tynan

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?