Feeds

Texas sues student 'spammer' for $2m

World's 'fourth worst' junk emailer

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.