Feeds

Texas sues student 'spammer' for $2m

World's 'fourth worst' junk emailer

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

Texan authorities launched federal suit yesterday against a University of Texas student alleged to have run one of the world's largest spam operations.

Ryan Samuel Pitylak, 22, and alleged accomplice Mark Stephen Trotter of Encinitas, California are accused of sending hundreds of thousands of junk mail messages through two firms they ran, PayPerAction and Leadplex. The pair are said to have specialised in spam messages hawking mortgage refinancing and other financial services designed to trick users into handing over personal information which the pair sold on for up to $28 a lead. Spamhaus ranks the defendants as the fourth largest illegal spam operation in the world in its Register of Known Spam Operations.

These spam messages often came with misleading subject lines and bogus sources, opening up the case for prosecution under the CAN-SPAM Act. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also accuses the duo of violations of state laws, namely the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Texas Electronic Mail Solicitation Act. Texan authorities worked with Microsoft and others to set up "spam traps" that allowed investigators to track the source of the junk mail back to PayPerAction and Leadplex.

If proven, the allegations against the pair could result in fines of more than $2m. They deny the charges.

Lin Hughes, the lawyer representing Pitylak and Trotter, said two defendants sold their stake in Leadplex and PayPerAction in March 2004 to Hong Kong-based Eastmark Technology, a firm also named in the suit. She said her clients remained consultants to Leadplex and PayPerAction who are "legitimate Internet marketing companies in compliance with the federal law", according to local press reports. ®

Related stories

Malware, spam prompts mass net turn off
UK firm fingered in US XXX spam probe
'Spamford' Wallace agrees to stop spyware assault
MS moves to can more spammers
US ISP wins $1bn damages from spammers

Links

Statement from office of Texas Attorney General Abbott: First Texas Lawsuit for Violations of E-mail Spam Laws

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot
Dirty QWERTY a perfect P@ssword1 for garbage websites
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.