Sunday, June 03, 2007

Spamm King in Jail

Robert Alan Soloway, a 27 years old who managed to become one of the most prolific spammers, was arrested last Wednesday in Seattle, accused of using networks of compromised “zombie computers" to send out millions upon millions of spam e-mails. A federal grand jury returned a 35-count indictment last week charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, to which Soloway pleaded not guilty. Here you can see the Arrest Warrant, Indictment, Search Warrant, Arraignment and the MOTION for Pre-Trial Detention.

Prosecutors said that Soloway used computers infected with malicious code to send out millions of junk e-mails since 2003 and he continued his activities even after Microsoft and the operator of a small Internet service provider in Oklahoma won $7 million and $10 million civil judgements against him respectively, which he never paid (and since the Oklahoma ruling also forbid him from spamming again and he continued doing it, he should have been jailed before for contempt).

Soloway used the zombie networks send out unsolicited bulk e-mails urging people to use his Internet marketing company to advertise their products, and people who clicked on a link in the e-mail were directed to his Web site where he advertised his ability to send out as many as 20 million e-mail advertisements over 15 days for $495.

The case is the first in the US where federal prosecutors have used identity theft statutes to prosecute a spammer for taking over someone else’s Internet domain name and by forging email addresses. Soloway could face decades in prison.

It seems that the law and the authorities are finally catching up with things done online and are willing to go beyond using the anti-spam legislation and use the whole book to stop spammers that think are untouchable. The indictment makes reference to the CAN-SPAM Act’s Criminal Liability part and to identity theft

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