Ralsky spam gang guilty: 24 years jail, $2,135,000 fine

Alan Ralsky and four other conspirators plead guilty to CAN-SPAM offenses. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers watch them face total federal sentencing guidelines of 24 years in jail and a $2,135,000 fine. This some 18 months after the grand jury indictment.

By Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher, who has selected these bloggy tidbits for your enjoyment. Not to mention error'd...

John Leyden runs the numbers:

Notorious spammer Alan Ralsky faces up to 87 months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to participation in a pump-and-dump stock spam scam. Ralsky, 64, ... and four accomplices pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to various wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and CAN-SPAM Act offences, as part of a racket estimated to have netted $3m in illicit profits over just 18 months.

His son-in-law Scott K Bradley, 38, ... faces a prison sentence of up to six and a half years. ... Each also faces possible fines of up to $1m. John S Bown, 45, ... who admitted using a botnet of compromised PCs to distribute spam, faces five years behind bars and a fine of up to $75,000. ... The trio, along with their partners in spam - William C Neil, 46, of Fresno, California, and James E Fite, 36, of Culver City, California - are due to be sentenced in Detroit on 29 October. Three others, one based in China, have also admitted involvement in the scam, while a further three people are awaiting trial.

Emma Woollacott knits more:

Throughout 2004 and most of 2005, he and four accomplices used spam emails to create interest in poorly-performing stocks held by individuals in China, claimning the stocks were about to rise - and then sold them when they did.

They used various illegal methods. ... These included using falsified "headers" in the e-mail messages, using proxy computers to relay the spam, using falsely registered domain names to send the spam, and also making misrepresentations in the advertising content of some of the underlying e-mail messages. ... The charges follow a three-year investigation, led by the FBI with assistance from the US Postal Inspection Service and IRS.

John Lister perpetuates a myth:

The federal CAN-SPAM act ... does not ban spam outright, but rather outlaws the falsification of information in such unsolicited messages.
[This was] the biggest such prosecution in that law’s history.

Matt "Tempest_2084" Reichert used to live next door:

This guy was my neighbor when I was growing up. It doesn't surprise me that he grew up to be a spam king, he was always looking for a way to 'get rich quick' and had a more than average understanding of computers (and a less than average understanding of just about everything else). I can remember him running some sort of telecommunications software on his Apple II every time I was over at his house playing with his daughter.

Now looking back on it, I wonder what he was doing and if it was legal. Then again he gave me hundreds of pirated Apple II games at the time so probably not (although I was one happy 10 year old).

cthulu_mt seeks revenge:

Hang him from the nearest lamp post and then burn him.

Paul Jefferies seeks context:

Yeah, we should only allow company executives and rich investors to take vast amounts of money through share price manipulation.

Nick Farrell sums up:

Alas, the US doesn't have the death penalty for spammers.

So what's your take? And would you like a bigger unit?
Get involved: leave a comment.

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter or FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email.

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