A non-profit anti-spam research group, SpamHaus has celebrated The US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) legal victory against the largest "spam gang" in the world
A non-profit anti-spam research group, SpamHaus has celebrated The US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) legal victory against the largest ‘spam gang’ in the world.
After a long investigation involving police agencies across the world, the US court in Chicago and court in New Zealand ordered the assets of Lance Atkinson, a New Zealander currently residing in Australia, and Jody Smith of Texas to be frozen.
The duo is allegedly responsible for one third of the world’s spam, at a time where spam accounts for 90 per cent of messages sent over the internet.
The FTC said that, "Their enterprise included participants in Australia, New Zealand, China, Russia, Canada and the United States."
Documents filed by the court also name four companies that the defendants control: Inet Ventures Pty Ltd., Tango Pay Inc., Click Fusion Inc., and TwoBucks Trading Ltd.
The organisation best known as HerbalKing were marketing herbal and prescription drugs over email. With an alleged "botnet" of 35,000 hacked computers they were capable of sending up to 10 billion unsolicited messages a day – equivalent to three emails in two days for each individual on the planet.
The duo was clearing $400,000 every month from visa charges only, despite the pills, contrary to advertisements being neither a 100 per cent herbal nor 100 per cent safe.
Furthermore, the defendants made false claims about consumers’ credit card information security. They also recruited spammers all over the world to send solicited email messages.
HerbalKing violated CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act of 2003 which provides civil and criminal penalties, by using deceptive advertising practice and failing to give opt-out link and physical postal address.
Mr Atkinson has previously faced legal action against him. Three years ago, he was fined $2.2 million for selling herbal medicine over the internet.
By Kristijonas Kancleris