NY man pleads guilty to spamming AOL subscribers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Brooklyn man pleaded guilty on Monday to sending spam e-mails to more than 1.2 million subscribers of America Online in a scheme that foiled the Internet company’s spam-filtering system.

Adam Vitale, 26, pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to breaking anti-spam laws. He was caught making a deal with a government informant that sent spam e-mails advertising a computer security program in return for 50 percent of the product’s profits, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Vitale and another man, Todd Moeller, defeated AOL’s filter system by using several different computer servers to relay the e-mails and changed the e-mail header information to ensure the spam e-mails could not be traced back to them.

Moeller told the informant via instant messaging he had 40 different servers to send spam e-mails from and made $40,000 a month from other spam e-mails promoting stocks, court papers said.

The indictment said that in less than a week in August 2005, Vitale and Moeller sent e-mails on behalf of the informant to more than 1,277,000 addresses of subscribers at AOL, the online division of Time Warner Inc.

Vitale will be sentenced on September 13 when he faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison. Moeller, who lives in New Jersey, faces the same charges.