Spammers Smacked With $236 Million Penalty

Nigerian prince expected to pay up

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Iowa-based CIS Internet Services, a small ISP, will likely never see the $236 million awarded to them by a federal judge, but there is at least the satisfaction of watching a pair of spammers get clobbered.
Spammers Smacked With $236 Million Penalty
By 2003, CIS was handling 500 million spam emails daily from several spammers, using up customer bandwidth and forcing the ISP to add servers to handle the load. Why was a small-town Iowa ISP such a heavy target? Best guess is their cis.net domain is similar to CompuServe’s cis.com domain.

An Arizona couple appear to have made a similar mistake and were ordered by a federal judge to pay CIS $10 per bulk email sent, which adds up to $236 million. While some think that seems excessive, courts are feeling they have to get tougher with spammers because, once a judgment is handed down, they tend to disappear and never pay their penalties. They often reemerge later, though.

Henry Perez and Suzanne Bartok ran their spam operation the way you might expect Joy and Darnell to on “My Name Is Earl”: They used a software program called Bulk Mailing 4 Dummies. 

Spammers Smacked With $236 Million Penalty
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  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Debbie Morgan

    Thanks for the report, Jason. As a web site owner of safety and security products, I love to hear when the bad guys get caught and punished.

  • http://learn-to-market-online116.blogspot.com/ intermediate level SEO

    I actually spoke to a small business ($2M in revenue) whose business was wiped out by a scammer spammer. His $100K bank balance was suddenly drained one day by wire transfers. The only one that he had successfully traced was to a little old lady in Ohio who had been convinced that if she would just accept this transfer from a friend, and resend it to some Nigerian, he would repay her with $4.5!  Yes, there are unanswered questions in this but it was interesting to hear this guy tell me the story (we were in line at the bank both dealing with messed up situations)

  • http://website-related.com/BotStufr/ Stopping Spam bots!

    Thats a lot of moolah, but deserved for their infestations!!!

    Internets biggest problem is the internet!

  • http://www.fourthfloormarketing.com James Spinosa

    I couldn’t possibly find this funnier, that is pure justice.  $10 per email?  That is absolutely ridiculous but anybody using a program called bulk mailing for dummies deserves what they get, it gives all marketers a bad name.

  • Guest

    Nigeria should be banned from the internet permanently and across the board they are all scammers in fact Africa should be banned from the internet

    • Guest

      It’s ridiculous to say that the entire continent of Africa should be banned from the internet. Do you think that all the entire Africa speaks English and that they all know anything about spam? Nigeria is NOT equal to Africa. It just happens to be in Africa.

      BTW, many of these Nigerian spammers and scammers don’t even live in Africa. They live in Canada, England, and Germany. ABC followed some of these guys in Europe a couple of years ago. Just because they say they’re writing from Africa doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth.

    • http://forum.nigeriantimesinternational.com Orikinla Osinachi

      Only an ignorant and stupid person will ask for a world wide ban on Africa for Internet spammers.

      The worst Internet spammers are in America and not in Africa.

      Americans still hold the world record for Internet Spam and the case files are there for anyone to see.

      God bless Nigeria!

      • WWWShopKeeper

        Unless you have a web site and sell products then you wouldn’t know that 100% of all NIGERIAN ORDERS that come your way are 100% BOGUS. They should be banned from the Internet. Never seen a legit order from Nigeria in 15 years. Take THAT to the bank.

  • http://www.e1jobs-blog.com Robinatoz

    Thank God someone is doing something about the scourge of spam.

    The sooner we get these idiots off the web the better.



  • http://www.homefromhome-sicily.com Kathy

    I am glad that at least one scammer  has been brought to justice,the problem is that there are many more around (and not just from African countries) .Kathy

  • obiWanKenobi

    I read through the entire article and even followed the link to the source of the story, all in an attempt to sync the title of the story to the particular content but came up very short!

    Needless to say I am a Nigerian who lives in Nigeria and makes a living designing web applications, and (surprise, surprise) proud of it. I will also be the first to agree that Nigeria has in recent years gained a somewhat deserved notoriety as a source of malfeasance particularly of the email/internet kind. However I think the time has come to call out some of the people reacting to the above story, and similar stories like it, for their shamefully feeble and ignorant reactions to the problem at hand.

    First of all a huge proportion of the scams raging on the net and for which Nigerians appear to be perennially at fault for, nearly always start out as invitations to some seemingly well off Euro/American or westerner to lend their vastly superior resource as a conduit for the stealing of funds from a poor African nation. Invariably these nations are chosen because they have a long history of war or political instability. In addition they are usually the subject of disturbing and searing documentaries in the world’s mainstream media equally detailing the failure of law enforcement, banking regulations and the judicial systems.

    So the victims, and I call them victims under advisement, whom scam emails of the Nigerian variety usually come to, see the bait they are fed, wrongfully as an opportunity. They start out paying homage to their own greed, entertaining wet dreams about abetting the defrauding of nations in a continent where the income per capita is often less than four hundred dollars. Where people often have to discover ingenious ways of survivivg on less than a dollar day! Where drought, and disease and the absence of infrastructure rules the day. Where it is usually very difficult to be the innocent possessor of huge sums of money unless someone has successfully raided the commonwealth and cornered it for themselves.

    Secondly, and perhaps more in tune with the subject at hand, there was no place in both articles that any of the perpetrators who were fined were identified as Nigerians. I am heavily inclined to imagine that a lazy writer is at work here. Lacking the skills to bring to life certain ideas neccessary for closing the deal with his readers, he succumbs to the cheap corners of his ability. Invoking the word ‘Nigerian’ not only ensures brevity and makes it easier for him to proceed without plumbing his story for facts and truth, it also plays to the prejudices of the uninformed and miseducated, which judging from some of the responses and comments the story throws up, there are perhaps a large population of, probably outnumbered only by the email scammers.

    Having shelled out out my tuppence, I need to say once again, that I am on the side of the enforcers. Spam makes the Internet more of the cesspool Mr. schmidt recently described it as. And when mixed with crime, threatens the way of life and means of livelihood of hundreds of millions of people like me. It matters little where you live or where you are from, whether you are white or black. The only thing I think that could be worse, perhaps, is having so much power, as the writer of the article obviously has, and choosing to use it to mislead people, and cause them to wrongfully spout stupid ideas like "ban Africa from the Internet" etc.

  • http://www.starriley.com/4minutemoney-bonus.html Star Riley

    The power of the Internet can be used for good and bad Imagine one day waking up and discoverying because someone used your email address you instantly get labeled as a Nigerian Prince with a vast viagra spam network!

    As an Internet Marketing Consultant my potential clients often ask me to do things that I have to explain to them is not ethical and may border on legality so stay away from it if its too close for comfort, the majority of the ideas they have come from a lack of understanding the internet.

    Just because you recieve spam doesnt make it right to use spam in your marketing efforts.

  • http://ww.a-lyric.com/ Michael

    The numbers of e-mails are huge, and all they need is one sucker every few weeks to keep ticking over.

  • Guest

    I wouldn’t have a problem if they hung all the guys with piano wire!  I’m serious!  I hope all spammers die painful / violent horrific deaths!  They are parasites and deserve no less. 

  • http://www.golforlandotoday.com Jason McCormick

    I am so upset that spammers have used my return email address of our company to spam people. I keep getting people emailing me telling them to stop and I never emailed a thing. The IP address they are using goes to Sudan. I think there needs to be a cap. If you can only send the same email to 25 people unless it is internal in your company then it would make too much work for the spammers. Someone needs to tell the Internet standards people that.

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