'Spam King of Seattle' Soloway pleads guilty

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Robert Alan Soloway, the so-called "spam king," pleaded guilty on Friday after prosecutors charged him with using botnets to deliver millions of unwanted junk mail messages to victims across the world.

Soloway, 28, struck a plea deal two weeks before he was scheduled to go to trial in the U.S. District Court in Seattle on a 40-count indictment that included charges of fraud, identity theft and money laundering.

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop all of the ID theft charges and all but one of the spam-related charges.

Soloway ended up admitting to felony mail fraud, fraud related to email, and failure to file a tax return in 2005.

"Soloway has been a long-term nuisance on the internet," spam-tracking nonprofit. The Spamhaus Project wrote on its website. "He has been sending enormous amounts of spam for years, filling mailboxes and mail servers with unsolicited and unwanted junk mail. In addition, he has fraudulently marketed his spam services to others as legitimate ‘opt-in' services when they were anything but that."

Soloway, who authorities allege made at least US$300,000 through his spamming business, Newport Internet Marketing Corp., faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in June. At that time, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman will decide how much he must pay in fines and restitution to victims. Soloway has agreed to discuss his financial assets while undergoing a lie detector test.

He has avoided paying fines in the past, even though he has lost two civil lawsuits that accused him of violating the federal CAN-SPAM Act.

Two years ago, Microsoft won a US$7 million decision after accusing Soloway of using its MSN and Hotmail services to deliver spam, and Robert Braver, owner of an Oklahoma-based internet service provider, won a US$10 million judgment against him.

See original article on scmagazineus.com
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