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Notorious Spammer Soloway Arrested

So-called "spam king" Robert Soloway has been arrested in Seattle on chargest which include mail, wire, and email fraud, identity theft, and money laundering. Soloway was notorious in anti-spam circles as one of the Internet’s most prolific spmmers, sending billions—perhaps tens of billions—of spam messages a day via his company Newport Internet Marketing Corporation.

Solloway’s company would often prey on naive businesses who were led to believe they were hiring a legitimate online marketing company; he also used spam to promote Web sites under his own company’s control. Soloway used false headers, falsified return addresses, and so-called botnets (collections of compromised Windows computers) to obscurete origin of the spam and often cast blame on innocent Internet users and organizations; he also used overseas registrars and ISPs to obscure the true ownerships of sites under his control. The 35-count indictment includes charges the Soloway made false claims about products and services he offered and refused to refund money to victims; he is also accused of violating the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act. In total, Soloway could face over 65 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted of all counts. Federal authorities are also tried to seize over $750,000 they claim Soloway earned from his activities. Soloway apparently claims to have no money.

Soloway will spend at least the next few days at a federal detention center, pending a detention hearing on June 4.

The antispam community generally believes Soloway has ties with other top-level spammers, rating the possibility Soloway might parlay information about their operations in exchange for reduced charges or leniency in sentencing.