Leesburg, Va. A man convicted in the nation's first felony case against illegal spamming was sentenced to nine years in prison Friday for bombarding Internet users with millions of junk e-mails.
However, Loudoun County Circuit Judge Thomas Horne delayed the start of Jeremy Jaynes' prison term while the case is appealed, saying the law is new and raises constitutional questions.
A jury had recommended the nine-year term for the Raleigh, N.C., man.
Jaynes, 30, who was considered among the top 10 spammers in the world at the time of his arrest, used the Internet to peddle pornography and sham products such as a "FedEx refund processor," prosecutors said. Thousands of people fell for his e-mails, and prosecutors said Jaynes' operation grossed up to $750,000 per month.
Jaynes was convicted in November for using false Internet addresses and aliases to send mass e-mail ads through an AOL server in Loudoun County, where America Online is based. Under Virginia law, sending unsolicited bulk e-mail itself is not a crime unless the sender masks his identity.
While prosecutors presented evidence of just 53,000 illegal e-mails, authorities think Jaynes was responsible for spewing out 10 million e-mails a day. Prosecutors said Jaynes made millions of dollars from the illegal venture.
Horne said also he might reconsider the sentence if Jaynes loses the appeal.