[ISN] Jury Deliberates in Computer Theft Trial

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Thu Aug 11 03:15:44 EDT 2005


The Associated Press
August 10, 2005

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A federal jury began deliberations Wednesday in
the trial of an accused computer data thief in one of the largest
federal computer theft cases.

Scott Levine, former chief executive of the bulk e-mail firm
Snipermail.com Inc., based in Boca Raton, Fla., faces 144 counts from
a July 2004 indictment in what prosecutors described as one of the
largest computer crime cases ever. Levine is accused of stealing 8.2
gigabytes of information from Little Rock-based Acxiom Corp., one of
the world's largest database companies. The violations occurred from
around April 2002 to August 2003.

The 1.6 billion records included names, home addresses, phone numbers,
e-mail addresses, bank and credit card numbers involving millions of
individuals. But prosecutors determined that no identity fraud was
committed. There was, however, a sale of information to a marketing
company, prosecutors say.

In a four-week trial filled with high-tech testimony, both sides tried
to simplify their arguments through symbolism.

Defense lawyer David Garvin pleaded Levine's innocence using an
oft-quoted parable about a child saving starfish sent ashore to die by
the uncontrollable tide. Prosecutor Karen Coleman countered with her
own analogy.

"Scott Levine's username was Snipermail13 _ why was 13 chosen? Because
that was the number of Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino," Coleman
said. "And just like a quarterback leads the team, Scott Levine led
the crime."

Like Coleman, Garvin attached significance to the computer name used
by Levine's brother-in-law Mike Castro, one of the six Snipermail
employees who pleaded guilty to acting as Levine's coconspirators in
exchange for their testimony against Levine. Castro's username was

Garvin said Castro thought of himself as a secret agent, a computer
James Bond who could use his tech-savvy to frame Levine, a boss who
once was so ill-at-ease with computers that he had to write out his
e-mails by hand.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Newton asked jurors to focus on the work
done on Levine's personal laptop computer, using monitors to show
jurors online chats among Snipermail employees about Levine's pet
project of downloading as many Acxiom files as possible. Prosecutors
say Levine was using the files to start postal mail marketing
campaigns and to bolster Snipermail's contact lists to make the
company look more attractive for a multimillion-dollar buyout.

Jurors were to resume deliberations Thursday morning.

© 2005 The Associated Press

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