TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Jail Sentence for Phone Line "Denial of Service"

Jail Sentence for Phone Line "Denial of Service"

Danny Burstein (
Thu, 10 Mar 2005 21:17:30 -0500

Fascinating ... could this be extended to spammers? Please? Looks close
enough to be worth a looksee ...

"Ex-GOP Party Head Charged in Phone Jamming"

"By ERIK STETSON Associated Press Writer March 10, 2005, 1:23 PM EST"

"CONCORD, N.H. The former executive director of the New Hampshire
Republican Party was sentenced Thursday to seven months in prison for
jamming Democratic telephone lines during the 2002 election.

"Chuck McGee pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring to make
anonymous calls with the intent to annoy or harass. He was also fined
$2,000 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service."


"The computer-generated calls -- more than 800 in all -- lasted for about
an hour and a half and also disrupted a union phone line."

rest at (watch for line wrap):,0,1684971,print.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I am not sure if they would warrant _jail_
time or not. It would depend on the judge's interpretation of the
facts; most spammers and/or telemarketers simply go through a list of
email addresses and/or phone numbers. A nusiance yes, but not the sort
of willful and deliberate behavior of Chuck McGee. Or even if you say
that spammers/telemarketers are a little bit deliberate and willful,
they do not single out one person or organization as this man did.

I am reminded of the same situation happening to Jerry Falwell's
"Moral Majority" organization, in Lynchburg, VA several years ago.
Someone living in the Atlanta area programmed his computer to dial the
800 number for Falwell exactly once per minute, around the clock for
several weeks. The phone room operators in Lynchburg kept receiving
these 'dead calls' (total silence) but because of the volume of calls,
no one detected anything unusual, just that they had a 'lost call',
i.e. a call where the caller 'hung up' (so they thought) before an
operator was available to take the call. Finally an operator during
the slower overnight hours wised up to the fact that these spurious
'lost calls' were coming once per minute at times when there was
absolutely no reason for them at all ...

Their first thought was to blame the 'telephone company' and a call
to the Bell repair techs brought a couple of techs out to investigate.
This was a very large account for Bell, after all, with inbound 800
traffic totalling several hundred thousand dollars per month. The
techs wanted to appease the customer, and they got in that centrex
ACD (automatic call distributor) cabinet and over a couple days tried
to isolate the problem. Their main hassle was it was very difficult
to 'busy out' certain lines to test; the volume of 'regular' calls
was so heavy the techs had a hard time getting a line isolated to
busy it out, there was one seizure after another, often times several
seizures at the same instant. Finally, Bell came to the conclusion
there was nothing wrong with the customer premise equipment. About the
same time, someone on Dr. Falwell's staff in charge of reconciling
and paying the phone bill each month noticed that the same phone
number was showing up 'quite a lot of the time', and Bell started
looking in that direction, still trying to appease the customer.

Telco back-tracked it through AT&T to Atlanta, and telco there filled
in the blanks, and when telco security representatives and Atlanta
Police showed up with a search warrant, they found the computer busy
at its task, dialing 800-MoralMajority once per minute, sitting there
several seconds, then disconnecting and doing it again. Bell told
Falwell they would write it off as long as he (Falwell) okayed them
filing charges. If he would not file charges, they they would sue him
for payment instead. Falwell agreed to let the telco handle it for him
(obviuously!) and the total damage was a little over a million dollars
in bogus 800 charges, over the several months it had been going on. I
guess the guy wound up getting a jail term of six months or so, and
had to make a couple thousand dollars in restitution as part of his
parole agreement. PAT]

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