In case you missed the news, two high-profile Internet crooks appeared in federal court in Seattle in the past few days. “Spam King” Robert Alan Soloway pleaded guilty March 14 to federal charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and failure to file a tax return. Prosecutors said the Seattle man used networks of compromised computers to send out millions upon millions of junk e-mails since 2003. He could face up to 20 years in prison.
Another Seattle man, Gregory Kopiloff, was sentenced Monday to four years in prison and will pay more than $70,000 for mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. Kopiloff used popular file-sharing programs, including LimeWire, to snatch people's identities — accessing their computers and stealing tax forms, credit reports, student-loan applications and other personal information.
(Way to go, feds!)
And trial was set to begin this month in a civil case brought by the Federal Trade Commission against Impulse Media Group. The Renton company, which operates a collection of sexually oriented Web sites, is being sued by the federal government for unsolicited e-mails allegedly sent by affiliates who received money for referring people to its sites.
The Seattle P-I recently ran an interesting article about the rise of Seattle as a hub for spam-related lawsuits:
"One reason is the presence of Microsoft, which says it has filed more than 130 lawsuits against alleged spammers in the U.S., many of them in Seattle courts. Washington also was one of the first states in the country to enact spam-related legislation. Along with the increase in legal actions, there has been a rise in the number of law-enforcement officials, lawyers, investigators and judges experienced in the intricacies of spam cases.”
Paula Selis, who heads up our Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit, was interviewed for the story.