Florida Man Sentenced To Four Years In Prison For Hacking, Spamming Scheme That Used Stolen Email Accounts
NEWARK, N.J. – A Boca Raton, Florida man was sentenced to 48 months in prison for his role in a computer hacking and identity theft scheme that hijacked customer email accounts to send bulk unsolicited or “spam” emails and generated more than $1.3 million in illegal profits, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced today.
Timothy Livingston, 31, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini to one count each of conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with computers and access devices, conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with electronic mail, and aggravated identity theft. Judge Martini imposed the sentence Feb. 14, 2017 in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Beginning as early as 2011, Livingston operated A Whole Lot of Nothing LLC – a business that specialized in sending spam emails on behalf of its clients. Livingston’s clients included legitimate businesses, such as insurance companies that wished to send bulk emails to advertise their businesses, as well as illegal entities, such as online pharmacies that sold narcotics without prescriptions.
Beginning in January 2012, Livingston solicited Tomasz Chmielarz, 34, of Rutherford, New Jersey, to write computer programs that would send spam in a manner that concealed the true origin of the email and bypassed filters. Livingston also used proxy servers and botnets to remain anonymous and evade spam blocking techniques.
Livingston hacked into individual email accounts and utilized corporate mail servers to further his spam campaigns. For instance, Livingston and Chmielarz created custom software designed to hack into the customer email accounts of a company identified in the indictment as “Corporate Victim 1” so that those accounts could then be used to send out spam. By using proxy servers and Corporate Victim 1’s customer accounts, Livingston was able to send out massive amounts of spam without identifying himself as the sender.
Livingston and Chmielarz also created custom software that appropriated a corporate website, identified in the indictment as “Corporate Victim 2,” which allowed Livingston to use Corporate Victim 2’s servers to send spam that appeared to be from Corporate Victim 2, but in reality was transmitted by Livingston.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Martini sentenced Livingston to three years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Fishman and Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco credited special agents of the FBI’s Cyber Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Shapiro of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark, Senior Trial Attorney William Hall of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Devlin of the Asset Forfeiture-Money Laundering Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Lorraine Gauli-Rufo Esq., Verona, New Jersey