LOS ANGELES : Hacker Gets 51 Months in Radio Contest Scam

A computer hacker who rigged telephone lines to win contests sponsored by Los Angeles radio stations KIIS-FM, KPWR-FM and KRTH-FM was sentenced Monday to 51 months in prison.

Kevin Lee Poulsen, 29, of North Hollywood, pleaded guilty last June to using computers to rig telephones at the three radio stations so that he and his accomplices would be the winning callers. During a two-year period that began in 1989, Poulsen and the others won two Porsches, at least $22,000 in cash and two trips to Hawaii.

In giving the hacker--known as “Dark Dante"--the longest sentence ever handed down for such a computer crime, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real ordered Poulsen to pay restitution of $36,925 to KIIS, $20,000 to KPWR and $1,000 to KRTH.

Poulsen had originally faced a term of 30 to 37 months in prison, but Real added time because the defendant could have jeopardized federal agents when he broke into a Pacific Bell computer in August, 1989, to get information about FBI wiretaps.


Poulsen has been in custody since his arrest in Los Angeles four years ago on a warrant for espionage-related charges out of Northern California. Two years later, prosecutors in Los Angeles announced the indictment against him for the radio station contests and FBI wiretaps. Last June, he pleaded guilty to seven counts for his Southern California activities, including computer fraud, interception of wire communications, mail fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

He still faces the espionage-related charges in San Jose, which stem from his alleged illegal possession of classified military data.