Man admits spearheading $1.3M email spam scheme

A Florida man is facing up to 10 years in prison after admitting his role in a $1.3 million computer hacking and identity theft scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman and Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell announced in a release Thursday.

According to the announcement, Timothy Livingston, 31, pleaded guilty Thursday to two conspiracy charges and aggravated identity theft in Newark federal court. With the plea, Livingston admitted to using his company, A Whole Lot of Nothing, LLC, to hijack corporate the personal email accounts, send spam emails, and collect more than $1 million in illegal profits, authorities said.

The company, Fishman and Caldwell said, originally sent bulk emails for both legitimate clients, and illegal entities, like online pharmacies that sold drugs without prescriptions.

Livingston admitted to hiring Tomasz Chmielarz, 33, of East Rutherford, in 2012 to write computer programming that allowed his company to send spam messages that were able to both conceal where the emails came from, and bypass spam filters, officials said.

In addition to sending spam emails using that program, Livingston also admitted to hacking into corporate servers to access customer email accounts and use proxy servers to send mass amounts of spam mail without being detected. Authorities have said the scheme stole personal information from millions of people.

In addition to the potential prison time, Livingston also agreed to forfeiting $1,346,442, and items he purchased with the proceeds from the scheme, including a 2009 Cadillac Escalade and a 2006 Ferrari F430 Spider, officials said. His sentencing is set for Jan. 27, 2017.


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