Spammers in the slammer

A compilation of the most notorious convicted spammers

  • Seattle spammer gets 47-month sentence: There's an old saying that most criminals are stupid. That's certainly true of Robert Soloway, 28, who was sentenced to nearly four years in prison in July 2008 for his spamming activities. Soloway pleaded guilty to spamming, fraud and tax evasion. This was the third time Soloway ended up in court on spam-related charges. Soloway lost two previous law suits - filed by Microsoft and a US ISP - but kept on spamming.

  • Notorious stock spamming team gets nabbed by informant: Bragging about their spamming exploits led to the downfall of Adam Vitale and Todd Moeller, who were arrested by the Secret Service after making a deal to send illicit e-mails for a US government informant. Vitale, 27, was sentenced to 30 months in prison this July after pleading guilty to several counts of violating the CAN-SPAM Act. Moeller, 29, pled guilty to e-mail fraud and received a 27-month prison sentence in November 2007. Moeller boasted to the informant that he made as much as US$40,000 a week sending out spam, particularly pump-and-dump stock e-mails.

  • Virginia spammer gets nine year prison term overturned: Convicted spammer Jeremy Jaynes, 34, nabbed a "Get Out of Jail Free Card" in September, when a US high court ruled that the anti-spam law violated the First Amendment right to free speech. Jaynes was one of the first spammers to wind up behind bars. He was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2005 for sending unsolicited e-mail to tens of thousands of AOL subscribers. Jaynes made US$24 million from his spamming operation, according to prosecutors who have vowed to appeal the latest ruling to the US Supreme Court.

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  • Online drug lord sentenced to 30 years in jail: Christopher Smith, 28, made millions selling discounted Viagra and other drugs through an illegal Internet pharmacy. In August 2007, Smith lost all of that cash along with his freedom for the next 30 years. Smith was convicted of conspiracy, money laundering and illegal distribution of drugs. A US judge threw the book at Smith, a.k.a. "Rizler", after he made a death threat against the children of a witness in his trial.

  • Spammer and family dead in apparent murder-suicide: Edward Davidson, 35, is the poster child for why spammers need to be prosecuted. In April 2008, Davidson pleaded guilty to tax evasion and falsifying e-mail headers on messages advertising penny stocks. He was sentenced to 21 months in a minimum security US prison camp in Colorado. A few days after his July 2008 escape from prison, Davidson was found shot dead in an SUV along with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. Spared were his 7-month-old son and a teenage daughter, who survived a gunshot wound to the neck.

  • If you have any doubt that spammers are criminals, take a look at our list of the Internet's worst spam kings. These bad guys didn't just send out e-mails hawking herbal remedies, mortgages and penny stocks. They were scam artists, who were found guilty of such crimes as identity theft, tax evasion and money laundering. One of these spammers escaped from jail and went on a killing spree! Read on to find out why law enforcement agencies need to keep putting spammers in the slammer.

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