AOL To Give Away Spammers Porsche

From AOL’s press release:

Think spammers are in the driver’s seat in the war on spam? Think again!

America Online today announced it has seized a luxury Porsche sports car from a major spammer who AOL caught thanks to members reporting spam. The spammer purchased the car with profits derived from sending junk email to online consumers – including AOL members. AOL seized the car at the successful conclusion of a legal action taken against the spammer.

Now, as a gesture of support and thanks to its members for their cooperation in the fight against spam and spammers, AOL is launching a unique and exciting sweepstakes that will award the Porsche to a lucky AOL member.

This legal victory stems from one of five lawsuits filed by AOL in Federal court on April 15, 2003 against dozens of individuals and corporations accused of sending spam to the AOL network. AOL’s lawsuits were based on leads provided by members who clicked on the “Report Spam” button.

The car AOL has confiscated from the spammer is a fully-loaded 2002 Porsche Boxster(r) S Cabriolet 2-door, with a 3.2-liter, 250-horsepower engine, manual transmission, seal grey metallic exterior and tan leather interior, CD-player, Bose(r) music system, and Sport package. Porsche calls the Boxster(r) S “the most powerful roadster that Porsche has ever created.”

“AOL has always placed our members in the driver’s seat when it comes to spam fighting, and now we are going to put one of our members in the driver’s seat of a spammer’s sports car. We see this as a great way to teach spammers a lesson, and reward our members for their continued use of the ‘Report Spam’ button,” said Randall Boe, AOL’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel.

“We are revving-up our fight against spam. For too long, spammers have taken too much away from AOL and our members – including time, resources, and money. With the help of our members, we’re striking back at spammers and aim to take away everything they acquired through profits made from spam. That means taking away their spam tools – such as computers, routers, servers and other equipment, and their spam toys, including their houses, their boats, and their cars. Spammers have benefited personally from their evasive, deceitful and fraudulent tactics, and now its time to get personal with them. Confiscating spammers’ assets hits home – literally – and it works,” Boe added.

Asset forfeiture is now one of many weapons available to spam victims and increasingly available to government prosecutors enforcing newly enacted spam laws. Virginia’s anti-spam statute, enacted on July 1, 2003, empowers state law enforcement to seize spammers’ assets. The new federal CAN-SPAM law, which went into effect January 1, 2004, also empowers the U.S. Government to seize spammers’ assets in criminal prosecutions.

Sweepstakes Details
The “AOL Anti-spam Sweepstakes” began at 5am EST today and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 8, 2004. The sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and District of Columbia, 18 years of age and older, who are AOL members as of March 29, 2004. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on or about April 9th and notified shortly thereafter, and will be announced publicly on or about the week of April 19th. To enter and for Official Rules, go to AOL Keyword: ‘Spam’ or ‘Spamfighters’. Members must complete and submit the online entry form to enter for a chance to win. AOL is providing transportation for the winner from their residence to AOL headquarters in Virginia, where they will take possession of the car. No Purchase Necessary to Enter. Void where prohibited.

Porsche Cars North America has generously agreed to certify the vehicle through its “Porsche Certified Pre-owned Vehicles” program. Cars that are certified through Porsche’s pre-owned program must pass a stringent 100+ point mechanical and cosmetic inspection, performed by factory trained and certified Porsche technicians. The Porsche certification will allow the lucky winner to experience quality and performance that have become synonymous with the Porsche name. Porsche can certify pre-owned vehicles that are current model year and previous eight model years. For more information about Porsche Certified Pre-owned Vehicles” program, visit
http://www3.us.porsche.com/english/usa/preownedcars/default.htm.

AOL’s Ongoing Legal Battle Against Spam
AOL has established a long and successful track record when it comes to litigating against spammers. Since 1996, AOL has filed 28 lawsuits against over 200 individuals and corporations accused of spamming members. As a result of its proactive legal efforts to help protect members from junk email, AOL has won Court injunctions to stop the spammers, won millions of dollars in penalties and damages, and forced spammers into bankruptcy.

Most recently, AOL joined its industry partners Microsoft, Earthlink, and Yahoo! to announce the first major industry civil lawsuits against hundreds of spammers using the new federal CAN-SPAM law. AOL also filed a civil lawsuit in February in federal court in Florida against four named defendants – dubbed the “Sunshine State Spammers” – who allegedly conspired with international spam operators based in Thailand to route junk email to the AOL network.

And in December, AOL collaborated with Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore and others to announce the first-ever criminal indictments under Virginia’s new, toughest-in-the-nation anti-spam statute. Two out-of-state spammers from North Carolina stand accused of spamming AOL members and could face jail time, asset forfeiture, and monetary penalties.

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