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Convicted spammer goes AWOL from federal prison

Prolific pump-and-dump conman walks away

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A convicted spammer who who generated millions of dollars blasting out pump-and-dump messages has gone AWOL from the federal prison camp where he was serving a 21-month sentence.

Edward "Eddie" Davidson, 35, walked away from a minimum security prison camp in Colorado on Sunday, according to news reports citing Justice Department officials. He is now considered an escapee and is being pursued by federal law enforcement agencies.

Running a business called Power Promoters out of his home, Davidson grossed at least $3.5m sending spam that promoted about 19 penny-stock companies, including a business called Advanced Power Line Technologies. At least $1.4m of the proceeds came from an unnamed Houston company. Davidson earned fees based on the trading volume of the stocks he promoted.

In December, Davidson pleaded guilty to tax evasion and criminal spam charges, and four months later he was sentenced to prison time and ordered to pay the Internal Revenue Service more than $714,000. Federal authorities have already seized gold coins and other property belonging to Davidson. He began serving his time about five weeks ago.

Davidson sent hundreds of thousands of come-ons to email addresses around the world. He spoofed email headers to trick recipients into thinking the messages came from legitimate companies such as AOL.

Reports from The Denver Post and PC World are here and here. ®

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