Feeds

Texas sues student 'spammer' for $2m

World's 'fourth worst' junk emailer

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.