FTC cans two U.S. spammers


Two spammers who hijacked consumers' computers and turned them into spam spewing zombies have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges. The individuals admitted sending illegal emails hawking mortgage opportunities, a device for improving gas mileage, and other products and services.

The action was initiated in November 2005, when the FTC brought its lawsuit against Matthew Olson and Jennifer LeRoy, both of Washington State. The settlement bars them from further violations of the CAN-SPAM Act, which requires that commercial emails contain accurate "from" information and subject lines, a working "opt-out" option, and a physical address, and clearly identify commercial spam as an advertisement.

A $45,000 judgment against them will be suspended due to their inability to pay. It will be imposed if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

The commission vote to authorize the staff to file the proposed stipulated final judgment and order for permanent injunction was five to zero. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle on March 23. The court entered the order on March 27.

According to the FTC, the settlement follows last year's cross-border crackdown on so-called "button pushers" who fired off millions of unwanted emails to people across the nation while concealing the real senders.

Working with U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Canadian consumer protection officials, and three state attorneys general, the FTC explained it has filed charges against numerous defendants for sending spam with false "from" information and misleading subject lines, and for failing to provide an "opt-out" option or a physical address.

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