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A man who owned an e-mail marketing company was convicted Friday of stealing information from data broker Acxiom Corp. in what prosecutors said was the largest federal computer theft case ever. The jury convicted Scott Levine, the owner of defunct e-mail marketing contractor Snipermail.com, on 120 counts of unauthorized access to data, two counts of access device fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. Jurors cleared Levine of 14 conspiracy counts and one money-laundering charge. Prosecutors accused Levine of running Snipermail as a spam factory, devising computer aliases to get around industry blacklisting. He and his company allegedly stole 1.6 billion customer records — the equivalent of 550 telephone books — filled with names, e-mail and postal addresses. The government did not charge anyone with identity theft. Acxiom had been storing data for advertisers with which Snipermail had a contract. Through that relationship, Snipermail was given what should have been limited access to records on Acxiom’s servers. But prosecutors said Levine and subordinates unlocked some passwords to reach more Acxiom data in an effort to make Snipermail attractive for a multimillion-dollar buyout. Atlanta-based Experian Inc., one of the three credit bureaus that control consumer credit scores, said it was approached by Snipermail for a corporate buyout of its contact lists — which had been artificially enlarged through the theft of Acxiom’s data. Six Snipermail employees pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and testified against Levine in the case. In the trial, Levine’s attorney, David Garvin, claimed Levine’s employees were guilty of the unauthorized downloads and tried to pin them on their relatively computer-illiterate boss. The jury heard testimony for a month, and began deliberations Wednesday. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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