Florida data thief gets eight years in slammer

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A Florida man convicted of one of the largest data-intrusion crimes ever committed was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison.

Scott Levine, 46, of Boca Raton, Fla., was found guilty in August of 120 counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer, two counts of access device fraud and one count of obstructing justice, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Levine, who owned mass advertisement emailer Snipermail, was responsible for stealing more than a billion records containing personal information – such as names, addresses and telephone numbers – from personal, corporate and financial data-management firm Acxiom.

There was no evidence that Levine and other Snipermail employees used the confidential information for identity theft, according to published reports. But some information was resold to a broker for use in an ad campaign.

"Computer hacking and data theft are serious crimes in our modern economy," Bud Cummins, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, said at the time of Levine's conviction. "Because of the volume and value of the data stolen by (Levine), this quickly became a priority case for us."

After hearing witnesses testify to Levine's positive character and reading several emotional pleas from friends and family, U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson said he didn't think Levine was a "bad" man, according to published reports.

But Wilson said the imposed prison term – the defense had recommended no more than a year in prison – was due in part to a previous Securities and Exchange Commission civil case brought against Levine, according to published reports.

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