A Seattle man was arrested Wednesday morning for illegal spamming activities. The arrest follows an indictment by a federal grand jury in Seattle last week.
The indictment charges Robert Alan Soloway and his company, Newport Internet Marketing, with fraudulently selling broadcast e-mail products and services that amounted to spam. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Washington refers to Soloway as a “spam king,” for the volume of unsolicited commercial e-mail his company produced. He is charged with mail fraud, identity theft, fraud and money laundering.
Soloway advertised a mass e-mail service that sent messages to an opt-in list of addresses, but didn’t actually use such a permission-based list, the indictment said. He also sold software products that customers could use themselves to send out mass e-mails. However, the product often didn’t work and if it did, it sent e-mails 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.
Soloway is also accused of sending out tens of millions of e-mails, often using forged e-mail addresses and domains in the “from” line, advertising his services. As a result, some people who legitimately owned the e-mail address or domain were blamed for the spam and blacklisted by Internet service providers.
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 US$772,000, which is the amount he illegally obtained from his activities, as well as forfeiture of other money and property.