AOL phisher faces up to 101 years in prison

Found guilty by a jury, a California man faces time in federal prison for sending out e-mail scams and related crimes.

Joris Evers Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Joris Evers covers security.
Joris Evers
2 min read
A California man faces up to 101 years in federal prison after a jury found him guilty of sending out e-mail scams as well as related crimes.

Jeffrey Brett Goodin, 45, of Azusa, was convicted Friday on multiple counts by a jury in the U.S. District Court for Central District of California in Los Angeles, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Goodin, who was arrested last year, was found guilty of operating a sophisticated phishing scheme, the prosecutors said in the statement. As part of the scam, he sent e-mails posing as AOL's billing department to trick people into giving up their credit card information, according to the statement. He then used the credit card data to make purchases, prosecutors said Tuesday.

To run the scam, Goodin used several hacked EarthLink accounts to send e-mails to AOL customers, prosecutors said. The messages urged recipients to update their AOL billing information or lose service and referred them to fraudulent Web pages created to collect credit card information, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Phishing is a prevalent online threat. Perpetrators have proven hard to catch since they often hide behind hacked computers and servers.

The Goodin conviction is the first by a jury under the Can-Spam Act of 2003, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Goodin was convicted on multiple counts in addition to the Can-Spam conviction, including wire fraud, unauthorized use of credit cards, misuse of the AOL trademark and attempted witness harassment, prosecutors said.

Goodin is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11.