RealNews

NASCAR Fan Faces Jail For Internet Attack

A NASCAR fan faces up to a year in prison for flooding Fox Entertainment with more than a half-million e-mails because he was angry the network aired a Boston Red Sox game instead of an auto race. Michael Melo of Billerica, Mass., has agreed to plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge of damage to a protected computer system, his attorney said Wednesday. The action forced the network to shut down part of its Web site. Melo designed a program that repeatedly sent the same six e-mails to Fox Entertainment Group Inc. in Los Angeles over a few days in late April and early May 2001. The messages were sent through the company’s Boston-area affiliate, according to the federal complaint. “He was just very upset that the Red Sox would pre-empt NASCAR, so he decided to send these messages to express his views,” said Melo’s lawyer, Andrew Good. Fox received more than 530,000 e-mails from Melo. Fearing a hacker was attacking its computer system, the company shut down a portion of its Web site, costing Fox $36,000, according to federal prosecutors. Full Story

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