Computer Crime Research Center


One 'Spam King' Faces 4 Years In Prison, One Escapes

Date: July 25, 2008
By: Stefanie Hoffman,

Seattle man Tuesday was sentenced to 47 months in prison for spamming while a Colorado man is on the run after escaping from a federal prison camp.

Robert Alan Soloway, also known as the "spam king," was sentenced to almost four years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to charges of mail fraud, e-mail fraud and tax evasion.

Investigators consider Soloway, 28, one of the country's most prolific spammers. According to court records, Soloway used networks of proxy computers, including botnets, to send more than 90 million spam messages in three months. His illegal spam messages advertised "broadcast e-mail" services and products for his Seattle-based business, the Newport Internet Marketing Corp., and contained false and forged headers, which directly violated the 2003 CAN SPAM Act.

Included in the fraudulent spam messages were claims that the e-mail addresses used for the advertised products and services were "opt-in" addresses. The Web site also touted a satisfaction guarantee with a full refund. However, customers who later complained about the products they ordered from Soloway's site were subsequently threatened with additional fees and collection agency referrals.

In March, Soloway pled guilty to charges of mail fraud, fraud in connection with electronic mail and failure to file a tax return. He also admitted to earning more than $309,000 for his spam-related activities in 2005 -- a year in which he did not file a tax return.

Soloway was indicted in May. During his sentencing trial Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman sentenced him to 47 months in prison, and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service.

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