Earthlink claims victory in another spam case
The spammers sent out more than 250 million e-mail messages
IDG News Service - EarthLink Inc. declared victory today in a court battle with two men it accused of running a spam e-mail distribution ring from its network.
The Internet service provider said that Damon DeCrescenzo and David Burstyn agreed to a court order requiring them to stop sending spam and to pay an undisclosed cash settlement to EarthLink. The announcement is the latest court victory for a major ISP against those accused of sending spam, and brings to a close a case that began in 2003.
The company called the agreements a great development in its ongoing fight against unsolicited commercial e-mail and said the cash settlement was "substantial," though EarthLink is prohibited by the legal agreement from providing details on the size of the payment, said Larry Slovensky, assistant general counsel for EarthLink.
Burstyn and DeCrescenzo were part of a large, multistate spam operation that EarthLink investigators dubbed the Alabama Spam Ring, after the group's penchant for using phone lines in the Birmingham, Ala., area to connect to dial-up EarthLink Internet accounts and send out spam.
In a lawsuit filed in August 2003 in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, EarthLink detailed a sophisticated spam operation that used phone lines, falsified names and addresses, and shell companies to send out more than 250 million spam messages advertising Viagra, herbal supplements and adult dating services. The group used stolen or forged credit cards and engaged in identity theft to set up EarthLink accounts that were then used to send spam, EarthLink said.
In an amended lawsuit filed last February, EarthLink named 16 individuals as part of the ring, including Burstyn and DeCrescenzo, claiming that the group violated U.S. federal and state laws covering computer fraud, banking fraud and electronic communications privacy. The lawsuit identified individuals and corporations in Florida, California, Tennessee, Michigan and Nevada.
Burstyn and DeCrescenzo have settled their case with EarthLink, but the status of cases against the other defendants is not known. EarthLink declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation. However, Burstyn and DeCrescenzo have also agreed to provide additional information to EarthLink about issues raised in its lawsuit, Slovensky said, declining to elaborate.
In May 2003, a district court in Atlanta awarded EarthLink a $16 million settlement against Howard Carmack of Buffalo, N.Y, also known as the Buffalo Spammer. EarthLink accused Carmack of sending more than 800 million spam messages over its network.
Last April, Carmack was found guilty by a jury in Erie County, N.Y., on 14 counts, including charges that he stole the identity of two Buffalo-area residents, which he then used to send out spam,
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