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FTC Puts a Permanent Halt to Illegal Spamming Operations

Cleverlink Trading Limited and its partners will give up $400,000 in ill-gotten gains to settle FTC charges that their spam, or that of their affiliates, violated federal law. The agency charged that their “date lonely wives” spam violated nearly every provision of the CAN-spam Act. .........

The settlement with Cleverlink, Real World Media, Brian D. Muir, Jesse Goldberg, and Caleb Wolf Wickman bars future violations of the CAN-spam Act and the Adult Labeling Rule and requires extensive monitoring of their affiliates for future violations.

The FTC charged that Zachary Kinion sent spam hawking adult sites, mortgage rates, and privacy software and paid other spammers commissions to send spam messages for him. The FTC charged that he hid his true originating address by routing his spam through the computers of innocent third parties. ....

The order contains a judgment of $151,000 – the total amount he made from his illegal spamming – which is suspended because of his inability to pay. Finally, it requires that he monitor any affiliates for CAN-spam Act violations.

The settlement with William Dugger, Angelina Johnson, and John Vitale calls for them to give up $8,000 in ill-gotten gains and bars them from violating CAN-spam and the Adult Labeling Rule. It also requires that before they use third parties’ computers to send spam, they must obtain authorization from the computer’s owner and inform the owner how the computer will be used.

Another operator was a professional “button pusher,” who used spam to drive traffic to Web sites run by third parties. The FTC alleged that in an attempt to conceal the source of the spam, the spammer routed his promotions for pharmaceuticals and adult content through unwitting consumers’ computers. The FTC charged Brian McMullen, doing business as BM Entertainment and B Pimp, with violating the CAN-spam Act. The settlement bars future violations and imposes a judgment of $24,193, which is suspended based on his inability to pay. In addition, the defendant has pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to spam and unauthorized possession of access devices – credit cards. He currently is awaiting sentencing.

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