A Seattle man authorities describe as a “spam king” has been arrested for alleged illegal spamming.
The indictment charges Robert Alan Soloway and his company, Newport Internet Marketing, with fraudulently selling broadcast email products and services that amounted to spam.
A US attorney's office in Washington state refers to Soloway as a "spam king," for the volume of unsolicited commercial email his company produced. He is charged with mail fraud, identity theft, fraud and money laundering,
The arrest follows his indictment (pdf) by a federal grand jury in Seattle last week.
Soloway advertised a mass email service that sent messages to an opt-in list of addresses, but didn't actually get permission from the people on the list, the indictment said. He also sold software that customers could use to send out mass emails. However, the product often didn't work and if it did, it sent emails using forged headers. He also failed to offer promised support services, according to the court documents.
In addition, when customers complained, Soloway threatened additional fees and referral to a collection agency, according to prosecutors.
Soloway is accused of sending out tens of millions of emails, often using forged source addresses and domains, advertising his services. As a result, some people who legitimately owned the email address or domain were blamed for the spam and blacklisted by ISPs.
The indictment also said that Soloway used programs and many different proxy computers in an effort to hide the source of the messages.
Soloway conducted the spamming activities at least from late 2003 through early this year, the indictment said.
If convicted, Soloway faces fines of over $772,000, which is the amount he allegedly obtained from his activities, as well as forfeiture of other money and property.