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
"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.”
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
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.