'Spam King' Behind Bars, Authorities Say

The arrest of a 27-year-old Seattle man is being hailed as a major victory in the fight against spam -- and some are saying it could lead to a noticeable decrease in the amount of spam worldwide.

"Spam is a scourge of the Internet, and Robert Soloway is one of its most prolific practitioners," US Attorney Jeffrey Sullivan said. "Our investigators dubbed him the "Spam King" because he is responsible for millions of spam emails."

Soloway is accused of sending tens of millions of such mails between November 2003 and May 2007, promoting his company Newport Internet Marketing that offered "broadcast e-mail" software and services.

Federal officials arrested Soloway after a federal grand jury indicted him on 35 counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud, fraud in connection with electronic mail, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. The federal government is also seeking $772,998 in damages.

In a court appearance Wednesday, Soloway pleaded not guilty to all charges. A public defender representing him at the hearing had no comment.

Soloway is no stranger to the courts: Microsoft won a $7 million judgment against him two years ago, and an Oklahoma ISP a $10 million judgment. However, he continued to spam even after these decisions, authorities say.

Microsoft said that Soloway was one of the top 10 spammers in the world, saying he was "a huge problem for our customers." Authorities said some were spending up to $1,000 per week to fight the spam he was sending out.

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