Former AOL Employee Pleads Guilty in Spam Case

Jason Smathers, 24, admitted to conspiracy and interstate trafficking of stolen property, charges that could carry a maximum prison sentence of 24 months under federal guidelines.

The federal case charged that Smathers, of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, stole the screen names from AOL, a Time Warner Inc. unit, and sold it to an Internet marketer.

The marketer paid $28,000 for the names, then allegedly used them to promote his online gambling operation while also selling them to other spammers, according to prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who last year refused to accept the guilty plea because he had a "technical" question, set a sentencing date of May 20.

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Lisa Minter
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