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Former Snipermail Owner Scott Levine Sentenced to Eight Years in Federal Prison for Massive Data Theft

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Summing up the significance of the conviction and sentencing of Scott Levine, the former principal owner of the e-mail marketing company, Snipermail, U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins (Eastern District of Arkansas) said: “At first blush, downloading computer files in the privacy of your office may not seem so terribly serious,” U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins, of the Eastern District of Arkansas, said in a statement. “But, if you are stealing propriety information worth tens of millions of dollars from a well-established and reputable company, you can expect to be punished accordingly.”

Levine, 46, was charged with the theft of some 1 billion data records in an indictment that that alleged 120 counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer, 2 counts of access device fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice.

A federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas returned a guilty verdict on August 12, 2005.

Between January and July 2003, Levine and others at Snipermail used sophisticated decryption software to gain access to data belonging to Acxiom, a repository of personal,  financial, and business information held for other companies.

Levine illegally obtained passwords and admittance to Acxion databases that exceeded his authorized access. While there is no evidence that any of the data stolen by Levine or others has been used in identity theft or credit card fraud schemes prosecutors said that some of the data was resold to a broker for advertising purposes.

(Source: IDG News Service 2/23/06)

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