'Spam King' arrested, charged: report

Seattle resident Robert Soloway has allegedly sent billions of unwanted and illegal e-mails. He faces 35 counts and decades in prison, according to a newspaper report.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A man considered to be one of the world's top spammers has been arrested and faces criminal prosecution for allegedly sending billions of illegal, unwanted e-mails a day, according to a press report Thursday.

Robert Soloway, a 27-year-old Seattle resident dubbed the "Spam King" by federal authorities and exasperated Web users, allegedly ran his business from his apartment, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.


A federal grand jury indictment handed down Wednesday accuses Soloway of 35 criminal counts arising from the operation of his business, Newport Internet Marketing Corp. The charges include fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

Soloway is accused of violating the federal CAN-SPAM Act, which criminalizes large, commercial e-mail messages sent using an unauthorized computer or with the intent to hide the e-mail's original source. The allegations could put Soloway in prison for decades, the newspaper reported.

Federal prosecutors are also seeking $772,998 from Soloway, which represents the proceeds of his activity, the newspaper reported.

Soloway allegedly advertised online marketing services to unwitting customers who ended up paying for spam e-mails to be sent from "hijacked computers" using their names, according to the Post-Intelligencer.

Anti-spam advocates celebrated news of Soloway's arrest.

"It's extremely gratifying," Neil Schwartzman, the executive director for the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email, told the Post-Intelligencer. Schwartzman said that Soloway did not only spam people, but also sought revenge on anti-spammers by using "mail bombings."

"Truly, this is a really bad guy," Schwartzman told the newspaper.

Authorities said Soloway, in an apparent effort to hide his true identity online, constantly shifted domains, including registering with Chinese Internet service providers.

Additionally, he used slave computers, called "botnets," to send spam that advertised his corporate Web sites, which contained false headers to obscure their true origins, the newspaper reported. Top of page