Connecticut man sentenced for e-card scam

A Connecticut man was sentenced to four years of probation for his role in a phishing scam that tricked America Online subscribers into giving up their credit card numbers.

Thomas Taylor Jr., of West Haven, Connecticut, and his colleagues spammed thousands of AOL subscribers with e-mails that purported to include electronic greeting cards from sites including Hallmark.com and Bluemountain.com. When people tried to view the cards, their computers became infected with a Trojan that prevented them from accessing AOL unless they entered information including their names, addresses, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers.

Taylor and his co-conspirators used the data to make fake ATM cards, which they used to withdraw cash and buy goods including gaming consoles, laptops and gift cards.

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut has ordered Taylor to pay US$33,714 to the victims of his scheme. He also must spend the first seven months of his probation in home confinement and perform 200 hours of community service during his probation time.

Last year, co-conspirator Michael Dolan, who had been previously charged with other computer crimes, was sentenced to 84 months in jail. Both were initially indicted in 2006, when Taylor was 20 years old.

The West Haven police, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation pursued the case.

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