Application security

Quartet of spam distributors settle with FTC

A spam operation that sent out mass emails selling dates with lonely housewives will pay $400,000 in ill-gotten gains to settle a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency announced today.

The FTC also today disclosed settlements with three other spam operations that violated the federal CAN-SPAM Act.

Cleverlink Trading Limited is charged with violating nearly every provision of CAN-SPAM, according to an FTC statement. The emails contained misleading headers, did not allow recipients to unsubscribe and failed to contain a valid physical mailing address or disclosure in the subject line that they were sexually explicit.

A U.S. District Court judge previously halted the spamming operation and froze the operator's assets, the statement said.

A listed telephone number or other contact information for Cleverlink could not be obtained.

The FTC additionally has settled with another three spammers. A FTC representative could not be reached for comment today.

In one settlement, Zachary Kinion was fined the $151,000 he made sending spam that peddled adult websites, mortgage rates and privacy software, although the fine was suspended due to his inability to pay.

The FTC also settled with William Dugger, Angelina Johnson and John Vitale for $8,000 in ill-gotten gains the trio earned from using zombie computers to send sexually explicit spam.

A so-called button-pusher spammer, who used spam to drive traffic to websites run by third parties, settled for $24,193 with the FTC. Brian McMullen, doing business as BM Entertainment and B Pimp, violated federal spam law by sending unwanted mail that pushed pharmaceuticals and adult content.

McMullen also has pleaded guilty for illegal possession of credit cards. He is awaiting sentencing.

Click here to email Dan Kaplan.

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