A Florida man is being sued by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office for allegedly sending thousands of unsolicited commercial spam e-mail messages to consumers across the country.
Sarah Nathan, a spokeswoman for Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly, said the case is believed to be the first brought by a state under the federal CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act, which went into effect on Jan. 1.
The civil complaint, filed last week in Suffolk County Superior Court, names William T. Carson of Weston, Fla., as the proprietor of DC Enterprises. The firm allegedly sent thousands of spam messages to consumers without providing ways for them to opt out of getting future e-mails.
A hearing has been set for July 21 before a Suffolk Superior Court judge, at which time Reilly’s office will seek a court order to stop DC Enterprises from sending more commercial e-mails.
A phone message left at a Weston, Fla., number believed to be Carson’s wasn’t immediately returned.
The complaint against Carson alleges that the e-mails he distributed offered “pre-approved mortgage rates even with bad credit” to consumers in Massachusetts and other states. Carson allegedly used an invalid business address in Newton, Mass., in his messages, which violates antispam laws. The complaint also says that he allegedly failed to include an opt-out provision, failed to clearly identify messages as advertisements and used a nonfunctioning sender address, all of which violates the CAN-SPAM Act and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.
“We’re trying to stop the alleged harm,” Nathan said of the attorney general’s complaint against Carson. About 27 consumers from around the country have complained about Carson’s methods to the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center and other agencies, she said.
In a statement, Reilly said the spam messages allegedly being sent by Carson are “exactly the type of unwanted, misleading and annoying spam that Internet users in Massachusetts and around the country complain about, and for good reason.”
“We expect e-mail marketers to live up to both Massachusetts law and the new federal spam law, and if they don’t, we will take action,” he said. “This company falsely tried to give its offers credibility by including a Massachusetts business address, which is an insult to the thousands of legitimate companies that call Massachusetts home.”