Earthlink brings down the Buffalo Spammer
Takes NY spamring to court
Earthlink, the US ISP, was today awarded $16.4 million damages and permanent relief against a notorious spammer.
The company accused Howard Carmack - aka The Buffalo Spammer - of sending more than 825 million illegal emails since March 2002.
Also, it alleged that Carmack and accomplices "used stolen credit cards, identity theft, banking fraud and other illegal activities to fraudulently purchase Internet accounts and send out unsolicited, commercial emails".
The ISP noticed a spike in Internet traffic from the Buffalo, NY area in March 2002. This was the work of a single spam ring working in the area, according to Earthlink.
It says it has discovered the identity of several members of the ring, as well as accumulating a "mountain of evidence proving Carmack to be the mastermind of the Buffalo Spammer ring".
According to Earthlink, Carmack "assumed the identities of other Carmack family members and of innocent third-parties to disguise his own involvement in these illegal activities".
He successfully dodged Earthlink's process servers for several months until they caught up with him in February 2003. The case is to be heard in the district court of Atlanta.
Earthlink claims a good track record in legal action against über-spammers. In 1997, it won a $2 million judgement against Sanford Wallace "the most prolific spammer of his time", and his company Cyber Promotions.
In 2002, EarthLink received a $25 million judgment against K.C. Smith, "shutting down an operation that had generated more than 1 billion unwanted emails on the Internet". Which is good. But do these ISPs ever actually get their mitts on any spammer's money? Not, according to this AP report. Carmack was not in court today, and neither was a legal representative, so he may well have gone to ground again.
But the permanent injunction against sending out spam is much more important than the damages, Pete Wellborn, Earthlink lawyer told AP. "The important thing not to lose sight of the point of the case and its incredible value to all Internet users is is that the ruling gets these people off the Internet. Carmack is not going to be spamming anybody else." ®
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