More good stuff for the Who are the Biggest Spammers series:
Robert Alan Soloway is the founder of “Strategic Partnership Against Microsoft Illegal Spam,” or SPAMIS, but is said to be one of the Internet’s biggest spammers through his company, Newport Internet Marketing (NIM). He is also considered one of the top spammers on the planet (well, until he got arrested).
Soloway used computers infected with malicious code to send out millions of junk e-mails since 2003. The computers are called â€œzombiesâ€ because owners typically have no idea their machines have been infected.
He has been sued multiple times (more below). In the summer of 2005, a court ordered him to no longer break the law. That didn’t help as he continued.
Recently, he was arrested on May 30, 2007 after a grand jury indicted him on charges of identity theft, money laundering, and mail, wire, and e-mail fraud. He was nicknamed the “Spam King” by prosecutors. In March of 2008 he pled guilty to most of the charges against him.
The indictment (actually the third indictment, since each time Soloway asked for a postponement, the government got to refile with more charges) made three categories of charges.
Counts 1-10 were mail fraud, due to Robert Soloway delivering his spamware through the mail, notably including 30 million addresses purported to be opt-in. Counts 11-17 seven were wire fraud, sending spam making false claims about the product, support, guarantee, etc. Count 18 was CAN SPAM fraud, forged mail headers. Counts 19-25 were identity theft, sending spam forging other peopleâ€™s return addresses. Counts 26-27 were for failure to file income taxes, and 28-40 were money laundering, using his ill gotten income to pay for further lawbreaking.
According to news reports he pled guilty to wire fraud, CAN SPAM fraud, and tax evasion, but not identity theft.
Previous legal problems include:
Microsoft filled a lawsuit in December 18, 2003, against NIM and 20 “John Doe” defendants for spam sent through MSN and Hotmail services. Microsoft won a $7.8 million civil judgment against him.
In early 2005, a King County (Washington) superior court judge ruled that Soloway was in default on the spam lawsuit originally filed by Microsoft (Microsoft never got paid, not that they need it).
Later in 2005, Robert Braver, an internet services provider based in Oklahoma, was awarded $10,075,000.00 in another spam-related case against Soloway. In this lawsuit, a permanent injunction was issued against Soloway, enjoining him from further spam activities.