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Creator of 'Melissa' virus gets another 20-month sentence

The creator of the "Melissa" virus that snarled e-mail worldwide received a 20-month prison sentence on a New Jersey charge Friday, the same sentence he received on a federal charge earlier this week.

David L. Smith also was fined $2,500 by state Superior Court Judge Lawrence M. Lawson on the single count of computer theft.

The judge upheld a plea deal allowing the state term to end when the federal term does. That means the actual 10-year state term will end in 20 months along with the federal sentence.

Smith, 34, received the federal sentence Wednesday on a charge of knowingly spreading a computer virus. The arrangement that allowed Smith to serve both sentences at the same time stems from plea bargains reached in December 1999 with state and federal prosecutors.

Smith could have received up to five years in prison on the federal charge, but U.S. prosecutors suggested a term of about two years, noting his "extensive assistance" in the three years since his arrest.

Authorities provided no specifics this week about his cooperation.

Smith told Lawson the virus was "a serious lapse in judgment," adding, "I have done everything I could to try and fix my mistake."

News source: The Nando Times - Creator of 'Melissa' virus gets another 20-month sentence

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