Top Spammer Arrested: Report
By Calvin Azuri
TMCnet Contributing Editor
The man responsible for the millions of spam e-mail that computer users have found in their mailboxes has finally been apprehended, according to an AP report.
The culprit is Robert Alan Soloway, a 27-year-old guy who has made headlines as the world's most prolific spammer. Federal authorities, who arrested him on Wednesday, assure people that there would be a decrease in junk mail.
According to the report, Soloway had been using networks of discarded “Zombie” computers to deliver unsolicited bulk e-mails requesting people to use his Internet marketing company to advertise their product. On clicking a link in the email, people were directed to his Web site where Soloway showcased his ability to deliver as many as 20 million e-mail advertisements over 15 days for $495.
A federal grand jury last week indicted him on 35-counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.
"He's one of the top 10 spammers in the world," Tim Cranton, a Microsoft (News - Alert) Corp. lawyer who is senior director of the company's Worldwide Internet Safety Programs, was quoted as saying in the AP report, "He's a huge problem for our customers. This is a very good day."
The $773,000 that he laundered through his business, Newport Internet Marketing Corp, funded his posh apartment and his expensive Mercedes convertible. Prosecuter Kathryn Warma believes that, now, they can force him to forfeit the money.
"This is not just a nuisance. This is way beyond a nuisance," Warma told AP.
Prosecutors reportedly assert that Soloway had made use of “Zombie” computers, machines infected with malicious code, to deliver millions of junk e-mails since 2003. The computers are called "zombies" because owners are not aware about the infection of the machines. In spite of losing a $7 million civil judgment to Microsoft in 2005 and a $10 million judgment to a small Internet service provider, he resumed his activities.
Soloway pleaded innocent to the charges. He is expected to remain in federal detention until early this week, the report said.
Calvin Azuri is a contributing writer for TMCnet
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