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FTC Busts Domain Name Scammers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the wrists-have-been-slapped dept.

The Courts 125

coondoggie writes "The Federal Trade Commission said today it had permanently killed the operations of a group that it said posed as domain name registrars and convinced thousands of US consumers, small businesses and non-profit organizations to pay bogus bills by leading them to believe they would lose their Web site addresses if they didn't. As with so many of these cases however, the defendants get off paying back very little compared to what they took. With today's settlement order, entered against defendants Isaac Benlolo, Kirk Mulveney, Pearl Keslassy, and 1646153 Ontario Inc., includes a suspended judgment of $4,261,876, the total amount of consumer injury caused by the illegal activities. Based on what the FTC called the inability of the settling defendants to pay, they will turn over $10,000 to satisfy the judgment."

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DOA - Domains of America (1)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 4 years ago | (#33195900)

I used to get mail from these jerks all the time.
It must have profitable as they spent a fortune in postage.

Re:DOA - Domains of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33195970)

Yeah, they actually bought this site [goatse.fr] and are doing something "legit" with it. Ridiculous.

Crime Pays. (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196864)

Crime pays, very well. -- Is that the conclusion?

Re:Crime Pays. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#33198706)

Only when you break the laws big time. Petty thieves are often fined more than these guys are paying. Small minded vandals pay more. Tax cheats pay more. If you want a good deal when you go to court, you have to steal millions, or billions. A few thousands make you a nobody.

Re:DOA - Domains of America (2, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196010)

I also used to receive postal mail from these guys, but haven't seen anything recently

On a somewhat related note, I have noticed that the fake lottery scammers and 419'ers seem to have migrated from email to actual physical postal mail. It's not a lot (over the last year I've received maybe 4-5 of them) but it makes me wonder whether these scams are actually lucrative enough to cover the cost of postage (often from overseas). The other possibility is that these scammers have figured out a way to hack the postage metering system so they're sending their mail for free (minus the cost of paper).

Re:DOA - Domains of America (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196712)

On a somewhat related note, I have noticed that the fake lottery scammers and 419'ers seem to have migrated from email to actual physical postal mail. It's not a lot (over the last year I've received maybe 4-5 of them) but it makes me wonder whether these scams are actually lucrative enough to cover the cost of postage (often from overseas). The other possibility is that these scammers have figured out a way to hack the postage metering system so they're sending their mail for free (minus the cost of paper).

Probably more lucrative. As in, the hit rate is much higher for postal mail than email, because face it - those 419 emails are so common no one believes them when they easily get as many as 1 a day or so. Plus since most spam filters already discard them (they all look the same), the chance of snagging a mark is low.

However, because people don't usually get much postal mail, it's a bit more "unique" and people probably aren't on their guard as much. Plus, you can put it on expensive-feeling paper with official-looking letterheads, and peopl can be easily convinced. Put it in an official looking envelope and you've pretty much scored. Sure it costs a few bucks, but the payback can be huge.

Anyone happen to notice that the amounts claimed have been steadily decreasing, though? It used to be crazy large amounts like hundreds of millions, then it's decreased to millions and less - hundred thousand-ish now? Looks like the recession's hit us all!

And I remember getting a letter from Domains of Canada, claiming to be the registrar for my domain. I'm not stupid, however, as I never actually registered my domain within Canada, and I know it expires yearly around March (I got the letter sometime in July).

DROA (5, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196030)

That would be DROA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Registry_of_America [wikipedia.org]

I got their invoices all the time. Good for a laugh at least. I'm sure they scammed thousands.

Re:DROA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33196518)

They're still scamming thousands of people. They're still in business and many of my clients still get tricked into paying them money.

Re:DROA (2, Interesting)

Daas (620469) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196904)

They apparently also run The Domain Registry of Canada. I received a bunch of letters from these scammers. These guys have scanned the one they received.

http://www.sibername.com/support/droc.php/a [sibername.com]

Re:DOA - Domains of America (1)

UberMorlock (1391949) | more than 4 years ago | (#33198382)

I received a couple of letters from these people for www.tabaxipixiebob.com [tabaxipixiebob.com] last year. I dismissed them out of hand simply because I am sufficiently happy with the current host-and-registrar. However, if I had been interested in making I change, I would have considered these people. Fortunately, I would have done research about the company first, which is what would have saved me from a very expensive mistake.
Granted, 1and1 isn't a great host (and I've got my eye on a new host/registrar), but there haven't been any service outages and the services supplied by 1and1 meet the site's meager needs.

grkup (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33195902)

What's that?

Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33195904)

Did anyone else read that as "killed the operators of the group"? That would have been so badass.

Re:Headline (3, Funny)

drewhk (1744562) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196798)

Yeah, like putting them into the automatic mail sorting system.

Re:Headline (1)

drewhk (1744562) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197160)

Thinking more about the problem, probably some size adjustments of the subjects would be necessary, and adding more horsepower to the machinery seems also unavoidable. But yes, the desired result is achievable.

What happened to debtor's prison? (3, Insightful)

ZipK (1051658) | more than 4 years ago | (#33195910)

If they can't pay the full judgment, why not have them work off the bill in debtor's prison?

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196050)

Refresh my memory. How is debtor's prison different from pound-me-in-the-ass prison?

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (3, Informative)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196114)

In the latter one, the taxpayers fund your stay. In the former, you have to fund your stay WHILE paying back what you owe. They were outlawed because people would never be able to get out of debtor's prison.

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (1)

ZipK (1051658) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196166)

You can tell your family where you hid the money and they can take a really nice vacation instead of paying to free you.

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197346)

What do you mean 'taxpayers fund your stay'?

You still have to pay the prison that kept you back for the time you spent in it.

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197826)

meaning, your tax dollars are spent on feeding, clothing, and giving immediate medical care to incarcerated felons.

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33198818)

You still have to pay the prison that kept you back for the time you spent in it.

A few states, Missouri comes to mind, have provisions to attempt to recapture the costs of incarceration from inmates. But most inmates don't have sufficient assets to go after, even in those states where it's provided for. Most inmates are housed, fed, clothed, and provided medical care, etc., at taxpayer expense, at least in the U.S.

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (1)

alanshot (541117) | more than 4 years ago | (#33199194)

you are correct. and there is also an absurd condition that happens in those states when a person is exonerated.

I recall a year or two back the story of a guy who spent a sizable (5yrs?) duration in prison before he was found to have been convicted on bad evidence, bogus testimony, fly in the typewriter, etc.

Anyway, this guy was found to be wrongly accused and totally innocent. He was released and cleared of all charges. Not just had his sentence commuted, but ALL charges dropped, apology from the DA, etc.

So he is released with a handshake and apology from the warden, only to be told "oh, by the way, about that room and 3 squares a day we gave you for the last few years... Here's a bill for your stay. Will that be Visa, Mastercard or Discover?"

I never heard what happened to that guy... Last I heard he was still fighting the validity of the "bill".

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33199296)

So he is released with a handshake and apology from the warden, only to be told "oh, by the way, about that room and 3 squares a day we gave you for the last few years... Here's a bill for your stay. Will that be Visa, Mastercard or Discover?"

I'm sure the wrongful conviction lawsuit will cover that, with a few million left over.

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196118)

They have a nicer letterhead?

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (3, Informative)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196334)

Debtor's prison does not exist in the US, for historical reasons. (Basically, at the time our constitution was written debtor's prison was being, or had recently been, significantly abused in Europe as a political tool to squelch opposition. Our founding fathers did Not Want That Happening Here, so they proscribed debtor's prison entirely.)

The provision that prevents our congressmen from being stopped and prosecuted if they are on their way to a session of congress exists for similar reasons. Also the third amendment in the Bill of Rights.

However, we *can* throw somebody in prison for a crime, and I'm pretty sure fraud on this kind of scope qualifies. Unfortunately, our courts are generally pretty soft on white-collar crime. But that's not a constitutional issue, just a practical and social and judicial one. Come to that, our entire judicial system is pretty severely broken at this point.

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197878)

Debtor's prison does not exist in the US

Did you know that if you bounce a check at the casinos in Vegas they'll throw you in prison if you can't pay your debts?

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 4 years ago | (#33198498)

Bouncing a check isn't the same thing. That is more like lying about how much money you have.

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33196620)

If they can't pay the full judgment, why not have them work off the bill in debtor's prison?

Because indentured servitude was abolished as slavery.

This is also why bankruptcy laws exist.

Re:What happened to debtor's prison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33196670)

Tangentially, the bigger problem is low settlements imho. Remember the blatant spyware empire (Direct Revenue) run by Joshua Abram, Daniel Kaufman, Alan Murray and Rodney Hook? They pulled in almost $100m scamming people yet got away with an FTC fine of $1.5m and, to top it off "without admitting to any wrong doing".

Walking away with the loot because of a low fine is more of an insult than being fined and not having cash left to pay it off.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Revenue [wikipedia.org]

Barbaric and unnecesarry (2, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197038)

The problem with debtor's prison is that people can fall into debt for all sorts of reasons ranging from maliciousness to recklessness to just plain bad luck. Do you really think that someone who can't pay their bills because a hurricane destroyed their house and their place of employment should be put in prison?

What you are looking for is thieves' prison and last time I checked we already have those. However, AFAIK [ftc.gov] , the FTC doesn't have the authority to prosecute criminal cases, just levy civil fines. Instead they pass on information to the appropriate authorities (the FBI or state governments may have jurisdiction depending on the offense). In this case, either the FBI would need to extradite them to face charges here, or the Canadian government would need to press criminal charges.

Blame Canada (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33195924)

1646153 Ontario Inc.

I wonder if they trademarked that number? Epic spammer business name is epic.

Re:Blame Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33196578)

All registered businesses in Ontario have a business number. If you don't have a name, you can call yourself by that number, such as the aforementioned.

Re:Blame Canada (5, Informative)

greed (112493) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196656)

Not to detract from the humour.... If you incorporate without a name, you get to be known by the serial number associated with your incorporation.

There was a similar scam in Canada, with some registrar sending out renewal notices to other registrar's customers. I forwarded one to the RCMP fraud division, and they said it wasn't technically illegal so they wouldn't do anything.

Re:Blame Canada (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196868)

+1 Informative

Re:Blame Canada (4, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197570)

I forwarded one to the RCMP fraud division, and they said it wasn't technically illegal so they wouldn't do anything.

You know, that's the RCMP's answer to everything. I have sent them so many tips on how to catch these guys - from the phone numbers they call from, the email servers they use, the post box they send from, and even how I as a regular citizen was capable of tracking all that info to at least a common city - if not an address that they could raid.

However, there is nothing I can do, and the police all claim that this kind of cyber crime isn't in their jurisdiction, so no one does a damn thing about it. I had someone sending me emails saying that they were going to sell me medical records for a low cheap rate - which already sounded sketchy enough as is but I decided to follow it through on the premise that if this was someone illegally selling that kind of stuff I could aid in his capture.

However, the RCMP basically told me that until they actually sell it - it wasn't enough for them to go on, and that following through would make me a criminal for purchasing it, and that they weren't capable of following the lead. That was the day I lost my faith in the legal system.

Re:Blame Canada (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#33198268)

You know, that's the RCMP's answer to everything.

Not true, not true. If you pie a politician [youtube.com] , you'll get a very very stern talking to from the RCMP.

4 million dollar scam = $10k? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33195954)

how is it that they can steal $4 million and yet they can only pay $10k? did the rest get spent on hookers and blow? i honestly cannot believe that they'd be able to burn through that much money without keeping SOME sort of nest egg for themselves.

Re:4 million dollar scam = $10k? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196150)

I could burn through that much money just by having my dream home built.

Re:4 million dollar scam = $10k? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197052)

I could burn through that much money just by having my dream home built.

Which is a physical asset that can be seized and sold.

Re:4 million dollar scam = $10k? (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197432)

I could burn through that much money just by having my dream home built.

Which is a physical asset that can be seized and sold.

Not if it's made out of dreams.

Re:4 million dollar scam = $10k? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197850)

True, but the FTC doesn't seem to believe in civil asset seizure (much like DA's in drug cases do).

Re:4 million dollar scam = $10k? (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196778)

i honestly cannot believe that they'd be able to burn through that much money without keeping SOME sort of nest egg for themselves.

Sure, but is that nest egg able to be discovered by the lawyers? When you have that mush cash, it can't be TOO hard to figure out/find a way to hide some of it offshore.

Also, easy come, easy go. A lot of criminals spend cash like there's no tomorrow, because they know if they get caught, they forfeit it.

Besides, if I was an evil mastermind with untold millions, I'd spend it on the construction of an immense underwater fortress, and then kill all the people who knew the location. How are you going to find my money without a team of superheroes?!

Mwua-ha-ha.

Re:4 million dollar scam = $10k? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33196942)

It's really not that difficult to make illegally-gained money "disappear". For example, overpay for fictional services provided by businesses set up by people who aren't officially tied to your main business. It's a lot harder to prove that money paid for, say, marketing consulting wasn't legit, at least without launching a full-scale investigation into the company that supposedly provided it. If that company is actually semi-legit (but happens to be taking a kickback, or has the perp's wife's sister-in-law as an employee, skimming the extra off into her own bank account, etc) the money might never be traced back to you, or can't be reclaimed even if it is. It's effectively laundered. Toss in a few overseas bank accounts, and a whole bunch of money becomes unrecoverable and undetectable by the authorities, but still remains available to you.

Also in the News: (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33195966)

FTC outlines new business model.

Hey guys, I'm the cyber police and you've all been backtraced. Hand me your sloshdat credentials or your consequences will be permanently altered.

Re:Also in the News: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33196448)

> Hand me your sloshdat credentials or your consequences will be permanently altered.

In order to prevent anyone *else* from seeing my sloshdat credentials except for you, I have transferred them directly to your computer and hidden them in a special file called /dev/random. They are preceded by the phrase "sloshdat credentials", so you can grep for them easily. HTH.HAND.

cat got my tongue (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33196062)

i thought i was on 4chan for a minute... backtraced... epic blaa is epic...

Not debtor's prison (5, Interesting)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196064)

They should be pounding rocks with a sledge hammer for 20 years instead. If the penalties for screwing with people's lives through these kinds of scams, identity theft, and all the botnet thievery were serious and enforced, maybe there would be less of it. In a time when our lives are increasingly open - and privacy a joke - then righteous behavior becomes a (inter) national necessity. Otherwise we have anarchy.

In due time... (1)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196458)

It wasn't that long ago that stealing a man's horse was a hanging offense, and in most circumstances you were given wide latitude to use deadly force to defend yourself against theft, precisely because loss of resources like a horse could imperil a person's life.

Our era of bounty and consequence-free living is nearly over, though, so you can rest easy, it won't be long before we will be living in an era where these guys will get what they have coming to them.

Re:In due time... (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196866)

Interesting. I was just thinking that the reason we're living in such an impolite society is because the penalty for cold-cocking someone for being rude is so huge.

You're saying that since we have such comfy lives, we don't punish people for taking some of our stuff, since it's easy to replace.

I get the feeling that you're referring to some kind of resource scarce apocalyptic scenario where Thog hits Grog over the head with a relic broken-off parking meter[1] because Grog tried to take Thog's supper?

I don't know if the rule of law will disintegrate so quickly... but your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

[1] Bonus points for anyone who gets this reference.

Re:In due time... (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197106)

The rules regarding theft of property and the use of lethal force (which in today's language is nearly any force, not just the use of firearms or dangerous weapons) have really changed radically since the mid-1960s.

Prior to the mid-1960s, the law appeared fairly soundly on the side of theft victims. I trolled the back issue database of the NRA's "Armed Citizen" column and was surprised to see a ton of stories from about 1965 and earlier where theft victims shot thieves *in the back* as they ran or even *drove* away, often killing them and getting absolutely no resistance from the police.

Since then there have been a number of legal changes but I also think there has been an increasing pacification of society and a concomitant attitude that "it's only stuff" and it can be replaced by insurance or whatever.

I'm sure this has something to do with the proliferation of "stuff" people own; the more we own, the more is at risk of theft, but at the same time, the more we own, the less value any of it has to us, let alone life/death value.

At any rate, its an interesting to think it was perfectly acceptable to shoot a man in the back for stealing your wallet 50 years ago and now it's considered homicide.

Re:In due time... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197256)

Prior to the mid-1960s, the law appeared fairly soundly on the side of theft victims. I trolled the back issue database of the NRA's "Armed Citizen" column and was surprised to see a ton of stories from about 1965 and earlier where theft victims shot thieves *in the back* as they ran or even *drove* away, often killing them and getting absolutely no resistance from the police.

I think it's a little far-fetched to say the law was soundly on the side of theft victims. I think the reality is that the law, as written, was rarely enforced against theft victims. The situation we have now is a victory for the rule of law.

Re:In due time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33197366)

The situation we have now is a victory for the criminals, and no-one else. If the law gives the scum who steal a right to life, the law itself is wrong.

Remember back when you didn't hear the phrase "killed by home invaders" every week? It's the criminalization of self-defense that has changed all that.

Re:In due time... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197450)

If the law gives the scum who steal a right to life, the law itself is wrong.

So you believe that possessions are more valuable than a human life? Really? Wow, that's some scary morality you have there. I sure hope you're not Christian, because that doesn't fit in with Christian morality.

Remember back when you didn't hear the phrase "killed by home invaders" every week?

Yes. I've never heard that phrase every week... not when I was young, not when I was fresh out of college, and not in the ensuing 15 years.

It's the criminalization of self-defense that has changed all that.

I don't disagree that self-defense is legitimate; what I do disagree with is that (1) lethal force is a valid response to theft and that (2) self-defense should be construed to include any situation where there is a trespasser.

Re:In due time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33197654)

So you believe that possessions are more valuable than a human life?

Since human lives are not identical, I do not assign a fixed value. The value of the parasitic humans, who take away from rather than contribute to society, is negative, so of course a possession is worth more.

And no, I'm not a Christian, but I would point out that even the Christian god is by no means always averse to killing. Remember the Egyptian firstborns in Exodus? Even I wouldn't have done that.

Re:In due time... (0, Offtopic)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197698)

And no, I'm not a Christian, but I would point out that even the Christian god is by no means always averse to killing. Remember the Egyptian firstborns in Exodus? Even I wouldn't have done that.

Exodus is Old Testament. The New Testament supercedes OT for Christians (I'm not one either) :)

Since human lives are not identical, I do not assign a fixed value. The value of the parasitic humans, who take away from rather than contribute to society, is negative, so of course a possession is worth more.

Well, now you have a whole bunch of assumptions. How can you know that someone who steals takes more from society than he gives? And is it a far stretch to say that someone who cheats on their taxes is also a thief, and thus should also be put down? How about someone who causes a car accident? Or someone who catches the flu and spreads it by not staying home while contagious?

And what about the possibility of someone who learns better ways and becomes a contributor to society? Is that impossible?

Re:In due time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33197846)

And is it a far stretch to say that someone who cheats on their taxes is also a thief, and thus should also be put down? How about someone who causes a car accident? Or someone who catches the flu and spreads it by not staying home while contagious?

None of those are things that people make a living out of. (You can't cheat on your taxes unless you have income to tax already.) These are things that, as a general rule, would go alongside a legitimate occupation, rather than replacing it. That's not the case for the people who go around breaking into homes for the purpose of stealing.

And what about the possibility of someone who learns better ways and becomes a contributor to society? Is that impossible?

Yes. One's personality is solidified by early childhood. Source: http://idle.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=10/08/09/1529251 [slashdot.org]

Re:In due time... (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197872)

If the law gives the scum who steal a right to life, the law itself is wrong.

So you believe that possessions are more valuable than a human life? Really? Wow, that's some scary morality you have there. I sure hope you're not Christian, because that doesn't fit in with Christian morality.

My life is more important than someone elses possessions, that's why I don't steal.

My possessions are more important than someone elses life, that's why I wouldn't feel bad about shooting them.

I wonder how much of every dollar spent in society is wasted on securing things needlessly. If I buy a $200 bike, I need to buy a $20 lock and a quick release seat and front wheel. Plus home owners insurance to secure it.

Re:In due time... (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197608)

The situation we have now is a victory for the criminals, and no-one else. If the law gives the scum who steal a right to life, the law itself is wrong.

Maybe people who didn't steal anything, were getting shot. "I shot him and then took my wallet back off his corpse." The guy who got shot can't present his side of the story. How is anyone to know who the victim was and who the criminal was?

If it's ok to kill criminals, then it makes a lot of sense for you (who doesn't intend to be a criminal) to wonder when you'll be labeled a criminal. Selfishly, the best thing for innocent people to do, is band together and try to outlaw tactical killing (or anything else which reduced the number of potential witnesses).

Re:In due time... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33198858)

More like a thorough drubbing for discretion and judgment. Zero tolerance is another symptom.

Re:In due time... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197238)

I don't know if the rule of law will disintegrate so quickly... but your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Depends on the level of 'resource scarce apocalyptic scenario' you're talking about. Read the book One Second After (EMP takes out all electronics in North America and elsewhere).
Small towns - a week, followed by an uneasy local truce. Urban areas - 1-2 days.

Re:In due time... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197294)

I'll check my library to see if they have it/can get it through interlibrary loan.

Sounds fascinating.

Re:Not debtor's prison (2, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197870)

IANAL but it looks to me like the summary is misleading: they only settled with three of the defendants, and the other one had to pay the full $4,261,876. The article doesn't say why they settled with three of the people, maybe they were just secretaries and didn't know the full extent of what was going on. Here is the relevant quote:

The settlement order, entered against defendants Isaac Benlolo, Kirk Mulveney, Pearl Keslassy, and 1646153 Ontario Inc., includes a suspended judgment of $4,261,876, the total amount of consumer injury caused by the illegal activities. Based on the inability of the settling defendants to pay, they will turn over $10,000 to satisfy the judgment. The default judgment order was entered against defendant Steven E. Dale and includes a judgment in the amount of $4,261,876.

Re:Not debtor's prison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33198886)

No they should be hung on a 20' pole for all to see. Photographs should be distributed to all newspapers. This is what happens to cocksuckers. They don't even have to spend a day in jail, aren't convicted with felony theft charges, and now only have to pay back $10,000. The prosecutor and judge should also be put in prison for failing to uphold the law. It's called conspiracy to commit or aid in the commission of a felony. They are allowing them to essentially escape(get off on the charges) by destroying evidence(ignoring it).

Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (4, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196120)

Honestly, I don't know why the FTC even bothers. If these clowns aren't criminally prosecuted, what exactly is the point? $10k, and an order to Go Forth and Sin No More is just a waste of time.

And the "Go Forth" orders are routinely ignored... I think Kevin Trudeau has been slapped by the FTC for infomercial scams no less than three times, and he still doesn't give a $hit.

SirWired

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33196340)

Riddle me this: Why is it that these guys get their judgement whittled to $10,000 for doing an active crime with victims, while some guy who left a directory full of songs on LimeWire gets stuck with a multi-million dollar amount that the only way it can be discharged is an immediate bankruptcy... and most likely a judge would turn that down?

Yes, IP violations are crimes, but scamming people out of money is a far greater crime than downloading the latest remix of "Oops I Did It Again."

I wish the FTC would have gone whole hog on these people, wage garnishment, tax return attached, property seized, etc. so the fine is paid.

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196636)

The obvious lesson here is that if you *MUST* either download a song, or scam thousands of businesses out of hundreds of dollars each, the federal government wants you to NOT download the song. Why else would the punishment/fines be higher?

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197044)

the obvious lesson here is: if you must download a song, scam thousands of business out of hundreds of dollar each, buy all the songs there are, and save just enough for the fine the courts will slap on you.

obviously the government wants this - must be something to do with keeping money sloshing around boosting the economy or something, so go knock yourselves out. I believe the Domain Registrars Association of America business is still available.

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33196652)

That actually is a very good question. I think it's because people don't have any effective lobby groups; unlike the RIAA/MPAA/etc. people just get to vote, which has become quite meaningless.

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197224)

That actually is a very good question. I think it's because people don't have any effective lobby groups; unlike the RIAA/MPAA/etc. people just get to vote, which has become quite meaningless.

If you study the history of rebellions, they were all rather organized. No organization among people means they are accepting, not rebelling. Businesses and money runs the government, and people "just work here", and "just live here", basically doing nothing other than contribute their labor and money to their masters.

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (2, Informative)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197152)

Why is it that these guys get their judgement whittled to $10,000 for doing an active crime with victims, while some guy who left a directory full of songs on LimeWire gets stuck with a multi-million dollar

Money buys good lawyers. Good lawyers can make a person innocent or incriminated on demand. Legal battles are like real battles in one respect though -- the result isn't predictable and guaranteed just by using overwhelming force. A low-power, underfinanced, disadvantaged opponent can sometimes be very resourceful. Vietnam won, in the end. The music industry isn't winning, in spite of lawsuits. Microsoft is still winning, though, nobody's managed to circle the wagons quite efficiently yet.

A Good Lawyer (2, Funny)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197578)

A good lawyer is one who can get a charge of sodomy reduce to one of following too close.

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (1)

kevinpfromnm (1874716) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197286)

The greater crime than both is seeking out "Oops I did it again". Playing it in public should be a capital offense.

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33198102)

Yes, IP violations are crimes

Really? I thought they were just a civil matter, not a criminal one.

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33198918)

Really? I thought they were just a civil matter, not a criminal one.

Such a dreamer [copyright.gov] you are.

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33198500)

Why is it that these guys get their judgement whittled to $10,000 for doing an active crime with victims,

something tells me each of their attorney's got paid substantially more than $10k, and the sad fact is that everybody in the system made their money that day. That's the way the court system works, that's the way the fcc works and that's how America works. Follow the money. - I ain't got it and neither do you - and neither do any of the poor slobs that were misled. That's why anybody who should give a damn doesn't.

forget about term limits. vote in every election, and vote *every* rat bastard incumbent out of office. and do it every time. because there is no difference between an incumbent and a rat bastard incumbent. Your government employees simply aren't working for us anymore GET IT?

Re:Another pointless FTC slap on the wrist (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196404)

the 10k is to pay for the legal process. its call payola

It is better than nothing. (1)

Seor Jojoba (519752) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197302)

Note that the operation was shut down and the people involved are likely going to have problems starting up a new scam now that they've got this record. And now that one group of people has been successfully stopped, it should at least push other thieves to think of a slightly different way to screw people over. I wrote a complaint to the FTC about these dicks a year ago when I got my first letter from ILS. I got angry every time I saw a letter from them. They didn't get what they deserved, but this FTC action represents progress.

No, it *IS* nothing. (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197684)

Note that the operation was shut down and the people involved are likely going to have problems starting up a new scam now that they've got this record.

Bullshit.

These clowns *ALREADY* have a record of scamming, and it hasn't stopped them yet. There is no realistic reason to assume that a 10k fine means anything at all to them.

Re:It is better than nothing. (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197980)

You call this progress? I call it a big fat advertisement for would-be fraudsters. "Make millions! Pay $10k and do no jail time years later!"

This is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33196290)

The scammers should get good old western justice, a choice of the rope or a bullet. Letting high end crooks off only encourages the scum pond to proliferate.

How profitable is this really? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196350)

How much of the $4,261,876 they scammed people out of was used to cover the cost of postage for these bogus bills? It's trivially easy to get addresses out of the whois database, but couldn't you potentially actually lose money on this scam?

Wrong business (3, Insightful)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196516)

Let's see if I get this right: the guys make a little over 4M dollars, get fined 10K dollars and can "keep" the rest because they have already spent it? If this is true, I'm in the wrong business!

Re:Wrong business (2, Funny)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197558)

If this is true, I'm in the wrong business!

It's TRUE! You're in the wrong business!

Send $1000 to the address at the end of this posting and I'll teach you what business you SHOULD be in if you want to MAKE MILLIONS!

Discontent (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196580)

Lately the talking heads have made a lot of news about growing discontent with the U.S. federal government. To some extent I've written that off as muck-raking by Fox, CNN, Republicans, etc.

But I've got to say, it really does seem like the government is failing at very basic issues regarding law enforcement, especially with letting white-collar criminals get away with pretty much anything.

Are things actually getting worse in that regard, or has the problem existed to this same degree for many decades now?

Re:Discontent (1)

Toksyuryel (1641337) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196796)

Amusingly, most white-collar criminals are actually republicans.

Re:Discontent (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197358)

Amusingly, most white-collar criminals are actually republicans.

Amusingly, most white-collar criminals are actually democrats but spread the myth that such crooks are mostly republicans. B-)

Re:Discontent (2, Insightful)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197670)

Amusingly, most white-collar criminals are actually republicans.

Amusingly, most white-collar criminals are actually democrats but spread the myth that such crooks are mostly republicans. B-)

Amusingly, most white-collar criminals are actually indifferent to political party and will claim whatever political affiliation they think will get them the maximum amount of leverage/sympathy/etc. possible. :-P

Re:Discontent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33197180)

The people in charge of the federal government are white-collar criminals. Of course they're not going to punish their buddies.

We really need another revolution.

Re:Discontent (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197310)

problem existed to this same degree for many decades now?

Some things have become worse, some things have become better, usually over a long period, quick changes are rather rare. I believe the mistake of the current government is that people were led to expect some kind of a massive change, although it was never promised or said in any way. But now they are wanting it. In any case, people don't really know what they want, and the politicians don't either, at least not in terms of a political and social proposal. Everyone wants money, and cares little about anyone else, and so everyone will get a rotten society.

Re:Discontent (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#33198892)

The FBI is mostly in charge of putting white collar criminals behind bars, but since 9/11 upper management wants more focus on national security and terrorism, so FBI agents have less and less time for going after real criminals. Every once in a while there is a news article about the FBI foiling some terrorist plot, so their efforts may be successful, but I still think the FBI may have gone overboard pulling people off of white collar and corruption cases.

Well nuts (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196738)

I initially read that as "The Federal Trade Commission said today it had permanently killed the operators of a group ..."

Further proof that if you want to commit crimes... (1)

Biljrat (45007) | more than 4 years ago | (#33196780)

in the U.S. that you must first incorporate and go after the peoples money. Never commit a crime against the government or against a corporation unless you want the full weight of the law brought down on your head.

Re:Further proof that if you want to commit crimes (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197380)

in the U.S. that you must first incorporate and go after the peoples money. Never commit a crime against the government or against a corporation unless you want the full weight of the law brought down on your head.

Yeah, that's usually the case. These guys did most likely send domain invoices to rich people too though.

Motivate them with jail time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33197032)

The threat of jail time has an uncanny ability to motivate white collar criminals. Having to only pay back $10,000 out of $4.2M is absurd. I guess you can get away with stealing if you blow it all and can't pay it back. They should be thrown in jail, for a long time.

Just post their full address and contact info (1)

e3m4n (947977) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197540)

It should be mandatory that the names and addresses of all guilty-found parties be published publicly. A little vigilante justice goes a long way.

My boss got suckered. (3, Interesting)

AsmordeanX (615669) | more than 4 years ago | (#33197734)

Our domain was up for renewal in September. In July we get a letter from Domain Registry of Canada (Domain Registry of America is their US version). Looking like a normal and official bill, the boss paid it by VISA despite it being nearly 10x what a domain registrar should be charging. The next day I'm going through the paperwork and find the DROC invoice. I'm baffled because they are not our domain registrar. First thing I do is call our real company and confirm that the domain is still locked. I also renewed at the time just to make sure. I then called DROC and after a few minutes on hold I was assured that the charge was cancelled. I contacted VISA the next day and was informed that the charge had been cancelled. They seemed to be pretty routine and mechanical about cancelling people though I imagine a few people never realized they had been suckered.

Hurray For Crime! (2, Insightful)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#33198202)

Apparently the courts and the FTC actually seek to encourage crime. How is it with the overwhelming number of useless laws on the books that we do not have a single law that states that the wrong doer must always pay back more than was taken?

Possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33198696)

How is this even possible, the FTC and US courts have no jurisdiction in Canada. Neither article mentions the CRTC or Canadian courts. So, I ask again, how is this even possible?

Oh them. (1)

Shadyman (939863) | more than 4 years ago | (#33198878)

I got an "Official Notice" from them once for my domain. They wanted me to renew my registration for something insane, like $100-200, or as the summary states, "I'd lose my domain". I called BS, especially since they were far from my regular registrar, and shredded it.

Good to hear they got what was coming.
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