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Top spammer caught on 35 counts of fraud, identity theft, money laundering

The war against spam seems to be never-ending, but a small battle was won earlier this week. Robert Alan Soloway, 27, was arrested Wednesday in Seattle on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, email fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering. Soloway pleaded not guilty to all charges.

"Spam is a scourge of the Internet, and Robert Soloway is one of its most prolific practitioners. Our investigators dubbed him the Spam King because he is responsible for millions of spam e-mails," Jeffrey Sullivan, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, said in a statement.

Soloway allegedly spammed the masses in email fraud since 2003 by using hijacked computers from around the world, and covered his tracks using Chinese servers, fabricated websites and stolen identities.

According to the Washington Post: “Soloway's company, Newport Internet Marketing, defrauded its customers by offering to send a high volume of legitimate e-mail marketing messages or to sell software that could be used in mass mailings. Neither approach performed as advertised but generated a torrent of spam. When customers complained, Soloway allegedly refused to provide assistance or refund the sales, instead threatening to charge them with additional fees and refer them to collections agencies.”

Anti-spam agency Spamhaus once named Soloway in its top ten list of worst offenders, though he’s since been outpaced by even greater threats from eastern Europe. "He is one of the bad ones. He's one of the longest-running and uses criminal methods all the time," said John Reid, an investigator with Spamhaus. "Anyone on the Web for a while would have received one of Soloway's spams."

This isn’t the first time Soloway has run into the legal system for his spamming activities. In 2005, Microsoft won a $7.8 million judgment against him for his spoofing of MSN and Hotmail email addresses. Unfortunately, the $7.8 million could never be collected because Soloway’s funds and bank accounts remained elusive.





"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
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