Archive for May, 2014

What Exactly Is Wire Fraud?

Posted: May 8, 2014 in The Law

Up until my case, I always thought wire fraud had something to do with wiring money, which as it turns out is not the case. As defined by the law, it’s this:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

In “English”, it means this:

If you use any physical wire that crosses a state line to trick someone into doing something that they wouldn’t have normally done, you just committed wire fraud.

In my case, I plead guilty to one count of wire fraud which correlated to one user being “forced” to click an advertisement (the user had to be outside of California in order for it to qualify as wire fraud since my servers are inside California, and the “fraudulent” action needed to utilize a wire [the Internet] that crosses state lines). The total monetary gain from that action was $0, but it’s not about actual gain (it’s about intent), and one could argue that I “intended” to possibly gain ~$0.50 if the planets were aligned and the user bought something from eBay afterwards.

Basically it’s a “catch-all” law. For example any misleading advertising that you see on the Internet could be construed as wire fraud if the server that served the ad is in a state other than the state you are in.

I’m not going to lie, for being a government agency the BoP website is a pretty good resource. Quite a bit better than some other government websites you try to find information on.

They even have public JSON APIs to let you get at different bits of data (things like inmate statistics and prison population broken down by facility).

Too bad the data is only as of “now” and doesn’t let you make charts to see historical trends (for example it would have been nice to see historically how populated a facility has been before you ask a judge to recommend placement there).


A.S.P.D.A.M. #1

Posted: May 7, 2014 in A.S.P.D.A.M.

There has been a massive amount of stuff said about my case swirling around the Interwebz… A large part of it is randomly made up stuff and some of it gets back to me because my friends ask me about it… so this will be the first post in the A.S.P.D.A.M. (Answering Stuff People Didn’t Ask Me) series of posts… 🙂

Mike Edge on

according to the article, shawn already plead guilty and is out on 700k bail and sentencing hearing is set for mid Aug.

I just read that article and it doesn’t say anything about a 700k bail. Either way… if it *does* say that somewhere, it’s false.

The day I was arraigned (7/22/2010), I was released on a $100k bond secured by my own recognizance. This means I didn’t pay anything, and if I missed a court date, they could come try to collect $100k from me.


Posted: May 7, 2014 in CorrLinks

I poked around and looked at CorrLinks since that’s what you get to use for “email” in federal prison. From a computer guy’s standpoint, it’s not super impressive… but I suppose it gets the job done.

While *I’m* not going to do it (I’m sure it’s probably some federal crime somehow), but it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to use it as a ghetto proxy to be able to read things like websites from prison (at least the text part of it).

That being said, if you are bored and want to send me a pseudo-email via CorrLinks while I’m in the clink and want to chat it up, my prisoner number is 13411-111.

Now that my sentencing is complete, I’ve been able to move on to more important things in life like praying to Baby Jesus that I would be assigned a sweet vanity prisoner number.

I had asked him for either 11111-111 or 12345-678 (I did my research and saw that neither were taken yet).

I’m guessing the Bureau of Prisons intentionally does not give out prisoner numbers that are *too* awesome, but either way, I did get one that is pretty choice. This is something that even *I* can remember…


For the nerds out there, it looks like you can pull federal prisoner data programmatically via JSON. Here’s mine: