Disgruntled Philadelphia Phillies Fan Charged with Hacking into Computers Triggering Spam E-mail Attacks
DOJ Seal
October 7, 2003

U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Patrick L. Meehan
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Contact: Rich Manieri
Media Contact
(215) 861-8525

Disgruntled Philadelphia Phillies Fan Charged with Hacking into Computers Triggering Spam E-mail Attacks

Victims Include Reporters At Philadelphia Inquirer And Daily News

October 7, 2003 - PHILADELPHIA  United States Attorney Patrick L. Meehan today announced the unsealing of an indictment returned on September 25, 2003, against ALLAN ERIC CARLSON. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Carlson this morning at his residence. Carlson is charged with “hacking” into computers around the country, hijacking or “spoofing” the return addresses of e-mail accounts of reporters at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News and e-mail accounts at the Philadelphia Phillies, and launching spam e-mail attacks. He is also charged with identity theft for illegally using the e-mail addresses of the reporters. The indictment charges that Carlson, a disgruntled Philadelphia Phillies fan, hacked into computers of unsuspecting users and from those computers launched spam e-mail attacks with long messages voicing his complaints about the Phillies management. The indictment charges that when launching the spam e-mails, Carlson’s list of addressees included numerous bad addresses. When those e-mails arrived at their destinations, the indictment charges that they were “returned” or “bounced” back to the person who purportedly sent them  the persons whose e-mail addresses had been “spoofed” or hijacked. This caused floods of thousands of e-mails into these accounts in a very short period of time. “Fans have the right to voice their displeasure but these were electronic attacks with serious consequences,” said Meehan, who created a separate Computer Crime section in his office in 2001. “By flooding the victim computer systems with spam e-mails, those systems and the businesses they support were severely affected. You can boo, you can turn off the TV, but you can’t hijack the e-mail address of an unsuspecting user and call it passion.” Meehan also noted that this is the first use of an identity theft statute against an e-mail spammer. If convicted, Carlson faces a maximum possible sentence of 471 years imprisonment, $117,250,000 in fines and a special assessment of $7,800.


ALLAN ERIC CARLSON 1232 East Lexington Drive Apartment A

Glendale, California 91206 DOB: 12/28/1963

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Michael L. Levy, Chief, Computer Crimes.