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By Leslie Pappas
Dec. 15 — A spammer from Florida, a computer programmer in New Jersey and hacker in Maryland were arrested and charged Dec. 15 for their alleged roles in a scheme that compromised the identities of least 60 million people.
Timothy Edward Livingston of Boca Raton, Fla., Tomasz Chmielarz of Rutherford, N.J., and Devin James McArthur of Ellicott City, Md., were charged Dec. 15 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and other conspiracy charges.
According to the indictment, Livingston, who organized the scheme, ran a company called A Whole Lot of Nothing LLC, which sent e-mails in bulk on behalf of clients for a fee—collecting $5 to $9 for each spam e-mail that resulted in new business for the client.
The spam that Livingston's company sent included both legal and illegal companies, prosecutors said.
Beginning in January 2012, Livingston allegedly asked Chmielarz, a programmer, to write computer programs that would allow him to conceal his identity and bypass spam filters. The two allegedly created custom software to seize control of the mail servers of a company, hack into the company's customer accounts, and then send out spam using the company and customers' accounts.
McArthur allegedly helped the pair to steal confidential business information from companies, including databases of customers, which they then used in spam campaigns. McArthur also helped by installing hacking tools on his employer's computer networks, the indictment said.
Corporate victims included a telecommunications company in New York, a technology consultant in New York, a credit monitoring company in Texas and a telecommunications company in Pennsylvania, according to the indictment.
All three men face up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and up to five years in prison for the charge of conspiracy to commit fraud in connections with computers. Livingston and Chmielarz also face up to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with e-mail.
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