Send Spam -- Do Hard Time

Good news today for Internet users. :slight_smile:

[quote]Jury Finds 2 Guilty of Felony Spam

Two North Carolina residents yesterday became the first people in the nation to be convicted on felony spamming charges after a Loudoun County jury found that they flooded tens of thousands of America Online e-mail accounts with unsolicited e-mail, prosecutors said.

Jeremy Jaynes, 30, and his sister Jessica DeGroot, 28, both of the Raleigh area, were found guilty of three felony charges each for using phony Internet addresses to send large volumes of e-mail ads through an AOL server in Loudoun.

The jury recommended that Jaynes spend nine years in prison and that DeGroot pay $7,500 in fines for violating Virginia’s anti-spam law. A third defendant, Richard Rutkowski, 30, also of the Raleigh area, was acquitted of three felony counts. . .

During five days of testimony, prosecutors argued that the defendants used fake Internet addresses to send more than 10,000 spam e-mails to AOL subscribers on three days in July 2003 – a volume that made the crime a felony. The ads, they said, pitched low-priced stock pickers, a software product and an offer to work from home as a “FedEx refund processor.”

Prosecutors said investigators who searched Jaynes’s home found computer disks containing millions of AOL e-mail addresses and computer equipment that had been used to attempt to send more than 50,000 e-mails to AOL subscribers. . .

When he was charged last December, Jaynes – under the name Gaven Stubberfield – was No. 8 on a list of the world’s top 10 spammers, according to, an anti-spam tracking organization that published the list.[/quote] … 4Nov3.html

Interestingly, the case was brought under Virginia state law, NOT the weak new federal law, the (YOU) CAN-SPAM Act, which is good news, as one of the main criticisms of CAN-SPAM, before it was enacted, was that it would supersede stronger state laws and weaken anti-spam legislation. Nor surprisingly, this case was brought in Virginia, because the victim was AOL and they have initiated numerous successful spam lawsuits in Virginia.

So the question is, will more cases like this make a difference? Of course the problems with spam lawsuits are that it’s so incredibly difficult and expensive to trace the source of the spam, identify the sender and gather the necessary evidence; much of the operations occur in foreign countries, often several countries involved in a single case; and if the US seriously cracks down on spammers, people say they will move their operations offshore completely.

But, according to Spamhaus, 90% of spam is sent from 200 spammers living in Florida (or something like that). Spamhaus lists their names and info publicly and the FBI has supposedly been looking into the matter extensively. So what happens if those 200 are prosecuted and receive 9 year sentences? Will that serve as an effective deterrent to prevent other slime from taking their places? I realize spamming is very lucrative, but 9 years is a serious penalty. What do you think?

Heh, was just about to forward you that news…

The unfortunate part is that he is said to have profited around USD24 million from his scheme and has reportedly moved most of that offshore. That makes the USD7500 they fined his sister pretty small beans.

Absolutely. So far spammers have faced minimal consequences for their acts. Anything to make their lives more difficult will decrease the problem. You don’t even need to track down every last spammer. Even a dozen or two being locked up will be a pretty good deterrent.

jlick, you must be dozing. I beat you to it again:

[quote]US$1.08bn award for ISP plantiff in anti-spammer suit

A federal judge has awarded an Internet service provider more than US$1 billion in what is believed to be the largest judgment ever against spammers.

Robert Kramer, whose company provides e-mail service for about 5,000 subscribers in eastern Iowa, filed suit against 300 spammers after his inbound mail servers received up to 10 million spam e-mails a day in 2000, according to court documents.[/quote] … 5988/print

Of course he won’t collect even a small percentage of the judgment, but it’s a step in the right direction. At least in the US, unlike some countries, authorities are coming to recognize the severity of the problem.

Sorry, I was busy trying to figure out who I could sue for 1 BILLION dollars.

Another top spammer arrested, but undoubtedly it will make no difference whatsoever in the global epidemic of spam. The feds are definitely lying about that. And, they’re pretty stupid if they believe he only made $700k from his spam.

[quote]Man described as 1 of world’s top 10 spammers arrested

SEATTLE - A 27-year-old man described as one of the world’s most prolific spammers was arrested Wednesday, and federal authorities said computer users across the Web could notice a decrease in the amount of junk e-mail.

Robert Alan Soloway is accused of using networks of compromised "zombie" computers to send out millions upon millions of spam e-mails. 

“He’s one of the top 10 spammers in the world,” said Tim Cranton, a Microsoft Corp. lawyer who is senior director of the company’s Worldwide Internet Safety Programs. . .

A federal grand jury last week returned a 35-count indictment against Soloway charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

Soloway pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon to all charges after a judge determined that - even with four bank accounts seized by the government - he was sufficiently well off to pay for his own lawyer. 

He has been living in a ritzy apartment and drives an expensive Mercedes convertible, said prosecutor Kathryn Warma. Prosecutors are seeking to have him forfeit $773,000 they say he made from his business, Newport Internet Marketing Corp. . . 

Prosecutors say Soloway used computers infected with malicious code to send out millions of junk e-mails since 2003. The computers are called "zombies" because owners typically have no idea their machines have been infected. 

[b]He continued his activities even after Microsoft won a $7 million civil judgment against him in 2005 and the operator of a small Internet service provider in Oklahoma won a $10 million judgment, prosecutors said[/b]. 

U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan said Wednesday that the case is the first in the country in which federal prosecutors have used identity theft statutes to prosecute a spammer for taking over someone else’s Internet domain name. [b]Soloway could face decades in prison[/b], though prosecutors said they have not calculated what guideline sentencing range he might face. . . 

Soloway used the networks of compromised computers to send out unsolicited bulk e-mails urging people to use his Internet marketing company to advertise their products, authorities said. 

People who clicked on a link in the e-mail were directed to his Web site. There, Soloway advertised his ability to send out as many as 20 million e-mail advertisements over 15 days for $495, the indictment said. [/quote] … id=1004129

Let’s hope he actually serves his sentence. There were triumphant announcements about his demise two years ago.

[quote=“some blogger on Sept 23, 2005”]Yesterday, U.S.Judge Ralph G. Thompson granted a motion by plaintiff Robert Braver (pictured) for a default judgment and permanent injunction against Soloway. The judgment includes a statutory damages award of $10,075,000 under Oklahoma law.

Here’s the math:

  1. Soloway violated the Oklahoma Fraudulent Use of Electronic Mail statute. 206 days of spam emails to Braver from Soloway times $25,000 per violation = $5,150,000.

  2. Soloway violated the Oklahoma Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail statute. 197 days of spam emails to Braver from Soloway times $25,000 per violation = $4,925,000.

Regarding Soloway’s violations of the federal CAN-SPAM law, Braver sought and received a permanent injunction barring Soloway from further violations of CAN-SPAM.

After dismissing his lawyer in June so he could represent himself, Soloway apparently failed to make required court appearances or file necessary documents. Hence the default judgment.

Earlier this year, Soloway was roughed up in court by Microsoft. (The software giant was awarded a default judgment in May; I’m not aware of the damages award.)[/quote]

He’s not really being charged with spamming, he’s being charged with identity theft. Sure, Al Capone was brought down over tax evasion, but you’re really not going to solve anything until people are arrested for spamming rather than for peripheral crimes.

Ha Ha! He never got me! Amateur.