FL Man Pleads Guilty in Spam Case

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 @ 03:11 PM gHale

A Florida man pleaded guilty for orchestrating spam campaigns for profit.

In December 2015, law enforcement officials arrested Timothy Edward Livingston, 30, of Boca Raton, Florida; Tomasz Chmielarz, 32, of Rutherford, New Jersey; and Devin James McArthur, 27, of Ellicott City, Maryland, on charges of hacking and sending spam.

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Authorities said Livingston operated a legitimate business named A Whole Lot of Nothing LLC since 2011, providing on-demand spam campaigns for legitimate businesses, such as insurance companies, but also illegal parties, such as entities selling untested pharmaceutical drugs.

Investigators said Livingston hired Chmielarz to write the company’s spam software. He also instructed Chmielarz and McArthur to hack into corporate networks and the websites of other companies, so they could take over corporate emails and company servers to send out spam from computers not blacklisted.

The three built botnets to send out their spam, and proxy networks to avoid detection. The group charged between $5 to $9 for each spam email that resulted in a business transaction for the client.

The Department of Justice indictment said Livingston and his partners hacked into at least four companies.

Authorities also accused the three of stealing user data from the servers of some of those companies.

The criminal complaint revealed Livingston provided the login credentials for an employee at a company and asked his two partners to scrape the victim’s servers for user information. Investigators suspect the two stole around 10 million user records from this target and millions more from other companies.

Chmielarz and McArthur already pleaded guilty in June 2016.

Livingston pleaded guilty last Thursday, and is awaiting sentencing. The sentencing court meeting will be January 27 next year.

Livingston pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers and access devices, conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with electronic mail, and aggravated identity theft.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000.

Authorities also seized from Livingston $1,346,442, a 2009 Cadillac Escalade and a 2006 Ferrari F430 Spider.

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