Defending the Phisher King: 101 years a stretch

Defending the Phisher King: 101 years a stretch

Summary: So let me get this straight: Jeffrey Brett Goodin sends out a bunch of e-mail scams, is successful with them and now faces 101 years. Phishing is a scourge but isn't this a bit excessive?

TOPICS: Security

So let me get this straight: Jeffrey Brett Goodin sends out a bunch of e-mail scams, is successful with them and now faces 101 years.

Phishing is a scourge but isn't this a bit excessive? After all, you could rob shareholders of billions (Enron and WorldCom) and get a couple decades max. You could murder, maim and do a even worse all for less time as long as you prove you're mentally off or had a bad childhood.

This guy preyed on a few AOL victims--which a few Web snobs would note is just natural selection in action--and now is held up as a big example under the first prosecution under the under the Can-Spam Act of 2003.

That's all well and dandy, but good luck with a sentence approaching 101 years.

A few talkbacks to ponder:

Talkback 1:
"The article states the maximum sentence is 101 years. It's highly doubtful that this individual will be sentenced to more than 5 years if there is no previous felony convictions."

Talkback 2:

"All phishers should get mandatory 30 years. I mean they get to wreck people lives and livelyhoods overnight that was built up over decades."

Talkback 3:
"AOL Users Should Get 101 Years In Prison."

Topic: Security

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  • I would think...

    ...witness intimidation would be an aggravating factor as well as the previous convictions. This is a hardened criminal in just about anyone's estimation, so no sympathy from me. Should some of the corporate criminals convicted in recent years gotten similar sentences? Perhaps, but in my book, phishing is actually worse than stock fraud, as the victims tend to be less able to afford the theft.
    John L. Ries
    • So stealing from the rich is more acceptable?

      Just a question. But that's what you're saying isn't it?
      • Didn't say so

        Stealing from the rich is a crime and should be punished as such. Stealing from the poor is a bigger crime and should be punished as such. So yes, I'm quite happy to send corporate execs who cook their books to prison for only twenty years, but phishers who may have stolen less money, but stole it from people less equipped to lose it, for life.

        In either case, I'm in favor of forfeiture of all assets over and above what is necessary to pay the convict's debts and to support their families while they're in prison (we're talking felonies here, not misdemeanors). All else should go to restitution.
        John L. Ries
        • After all...

 people can typically afford to pay lawyers to look after their interests and to try to recover their stolen property. Poor people usually can't.
          John L. Ries
        • Another way of putting it

          The seriousness of a theft is proportional to the amount harm inflicted on the victims, not the monetary value of the stolen property.
          John L. Ries
        • So...

          ...assaulting and injuring an old man is a worse crime that doing the same injury to a kid because kids recover faster and more completely than the old and therefore less actual harm is done to the kid. Similarly, killing a kid is a worse crime than killing an old man because the kid loses a lifetime but the old guy only loses a few years.

          "Relative harm" would be a tough legal philosophy to work with.
          Henrik Moller
  • Let's see how you feel when you ID is stolen

    I have seen firsthand the affects of identity theft. My friend is STILL recovring from it 5 years later because being forced to file bankruptcy to save your home is something you NEVER truly recover from.

    "A few users" as you state it, who cares, really? You may spend years fixing it, deal with illness inducing stress, file bankruptcy, dramatically affect your family, etc. If it happens to you, we'll see just how "generous" you are.

    ID theft is beyond despicable because it is a crime that just keeps giving and giving and giving. Some kid steals a car, well, the car is gone, life goes on. Some kid steals an ID, well, the victim's life is ruined, absolutely ruined for 6 months to forever. What do you think is an adequate sentence?

    The sentence should be exactly equal to the time it took for the victim to get past it, and up to 100% of all assets seized as compensation, with mandatory compensation until such time as the debt is paid off.

    As I said, this crime falls into the sleaziest category, comparable to getting kids hooked on drugs, pimping, etc. So, "A few users", what 3, 6, 10, a hundred? It ruined their lives for how long? Let's just assume 10 at 2 years to get past it, how about 20 years. All for probably less than $50K of merchandise.

    In any case, my personal opinion is simply that people who steal identities are a waste of skin and if this particular waste of skin gets 101 years, he'll have alot of time to think about whether that 60" plasma TV was worth it.

    Remember 25 years ago, a stolen car made the news, now, you call to get a report number for insurance. If society as WHOLE refuses to "let this one poor schmuck off", in 25 years, ID theft won't be another crime we all just live with. Tell me some 17 year old won't think twice about an Ebay phishing site if this guy gets 50+ years?

    • Great point

      And I probably shouldn't have been as cheeky as I was. The main point: I don't see this guy getting 101 years.
      Larry Dignan
      • You are right

        Sorry for coming off a little harsh. I'll be watching what the actual sentence is. I hope against hope that the procescutor brings the actual victims in so they can tell their story one by one. I suspect 3-5 years will be the sentence though.

        In general, people think this is a white collar crime without victims (sure, some muss and fuss but what's the big deal kind of thing). A part of the problem today is that it is so incredibly easy to get credit anywhere with basically no real validation. Amazingly enough, one credit card company issued a fraudulent card against my friends social security number using a P.O. box in California (she lives in Texas) and with a misspelled name. Their first and only purchase was $15,000 worth of goods at a JC Penny, and not one flag, anywhere in the process went off.

        Even after filing bankruptcy, they were still hounding her and I paid for her lawyer to bring a harassment suit against them. Talk about apologizing in a hurry. I can only imagine what victims do when they have no resources to fend off the credit companies. Victims on both sides of the coin. Personally, I have given up credit cards and put a block on my credit history, no unsolicited requests for credit check.

  • Larry Dignan should receive 101 years for this post

    If your main point is that "you don't see it getting 101 years" then
    change your blog because that is not what you are saying