One spammer sentenced to prison as another escapes

One Internet spammer was sentenced this week to nearly four years in prison, while another fled a correctional facility and is currently on the run.

Robert Soloway, who ran Newport Internet Marketing Corp and pled guilty to mail fraud, e-mail fraud, and tax evasion in May 2007 received his sentence yesterday: 3 years and 11 months in federal prison.

The sentence was handed down by Judge Marsha Pechman in the District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle. The prosecution asked for a seven to nine year sentence, similar to the one Jeremy Jaynes received in 2005 for his spamming activity, believed to be the first case of felony spamming.

In May, self-proclaimed "spam king" Sanford Wallace was hit with the maximum fine allowable under the CAN-SPAM act: $230 million, to be paid to Myspace.

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.

Though his sentence was shorter than the one handed down to Jaynes, and less costly than the one given to Wallace, it's at least more serious than the one given to another self-proclaimed spam king.

Edward Davidson was sentenced to 21 months in Florence Federal Correctional Complex, where Sunday he simply walked off and has not been seen since. Davidson's company Power Promoters made at least $3.5 million from spam contracts with penny stock companies, and he is now being hunted by the US Marshals, the FBI and the IRS.

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