Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


SEATTLE – Attorney General Rob McKenna today commended Microsoft for its successful settlement with self-proclaimed “Spam King” Scott Richter and for the company’s dedication to Internet safety.

“Microsoft is a leader in efforts to fight illegal Internet practices and this most recent settlement is a victory for Washington consumers,” McKenna said. “The company’s decision to reinvest $5 million from this settlement into expanding its partnerships with government and law enforcement is a testament to its dedication to promoting a safe online culture.”

Microsoft’s commitment to providing technical training and investigative and forensic assistance comes at a crucial time when Washington, along with the rest of the nation, is forced to devote increasing resources to deal with spammers, pernicious spyware companies, and identity thieves, McKenna explained.

“Preventing high-tech fraud and punishing those responsible are top priorities for the Attorney General’s Office and local law enforcement. Microsoft recognizes that a strong collaboration between the public and private sectors is vital to enforcement efforts against cyber crooks,” McKenna said.

Microsoft and the New York Attorney General sued Scott Richter and his company OptInRealBig.com in December 2003, alleging violations of state and federal laws regulating unsolicited e-mails.

As part of the settlement announced today, Richter agreed to pay $7 million in damages to Microsoft.

The agreement stipulates that Richter and his company will comply with all federal and state anti-spam laws. It also calls for three years of oversight of Richter’s operations. The settlement is conditioned upon dismissal of bankruptcy cases filed by Richter and OptInRealBig.com.

Microsoft alleged that Richter sent and assisted others in sending 38 billion e-mails a year before changing his practices. He was considered one of the world’s most prolific spammers.


For more information contact:

Kristin Alexander, Public Information Officer, (206) 464-6432, KristinA1@atg.wa.gov