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Spammer Gets $11 Billion Fine

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the thats-a-lotta-shifts-at-the-dq dept.

Spam 478

Spad writes "It's not a typo, The Inquirer (amongst others) is reporting that an Iowa-based ISP has been awarded $11.2 billion in a case against spammer James McCalla, who was found guilty of sending over 280 million illegal spam emails. Under state law, the ISP was entitled to $10 per illegal e-mail sent. According to the Quad-City Times, McCalla has also been banned from using a computer for 3 years. From the article: "CIS acknowledged that it is unlikely to see any of the judgment money but said that it was time that spammers learnt that their actions would result in an economic death penalty"."

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478 comments

Bankrupcy? (5, Insightful)

srock2588 (827871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402218)

Are you allowed to declare bankrupcy if you owe money via criminal court order?

This dude just got F'd in the A.

Re:Bankrupcy? (5, Informative)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402241)

Are you allowed to declare bankrupcy if you owe money via criminal court order?

Nope, judgements and federally subsidized loans cannot be discharged by bankrupcy.

Re:Bankrupcy? (5, Interesting)

flicken (182650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402346)

According to the article, the IPS doesn't expect to collect any of the money. So it is likely that they will cancel the debt. Which means, according to IRS publication 525, that the spammer will owe taxes on the forgiven debt.

Let's see... $11.2 billion, at the highest tax bracket of 35%, that's $3.92 billion he'll owe the IRS.

IRS publication 525:

Canceled Debts Generally, if a debt you owe is canceled or forgiven, other than as a gift or bequest, you must include the canceled amount in your income. You have no income from the canceled debt if it is intended as a gift to you. A debt includes any indebtedness for which you are liable or which attaches to property you hold.

If the debt is a nonbusiness debt, report the canceled amount on Form 1040, line 21. If it is a business debt, report the amount on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) (or on Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Farming, if the debt is farm debt and you are a farmer).

Very rough, hopeful translation (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402496)

that's $3.92 billion he'll owe the IRS.

w00t! PWN3D!!1

This is one guy I hope the IRS takes everything and the boxer shorts from. I hate spam (I have a good email service though, so little worry now). 280 million spams, billions in taxes owed...nope, the tax men will never notice that.

Not exactly... (5, Informative)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402391)

"* LAWSUITS AND JUDGMENTS

The filing of either a Chapter Seven straight bankruptcy or Chapter
Thirteen debt adjustment immediately stops any lawsuits from being filed
or judgments being taken against you. If a law suit is pending at the
time of such filing, it can go no further. If a judgment has been
taken, its enforcement can go no further. If a creditor has a judgment
and is garnishing your wages, the garnishment can be stopped. Filing
for Chapter Seven straight bankruptcy may relieve you of the obligation
to pay the judgment. In a Chapter Thirteen debt adjustment, you may be
able to satisfy the judgment over a period not to exceed five years. If
the judgment has placed a lien on your home, that lien can be removed if
it interferes with your homestead. If lawsuits or judgments are a
threat or reality, the protection afforded under the bankruptcy laws may
be an appropriate solution for you."

It appears that in some states the law is a little different, but generally the answer is yes, you can file bankruptcy.

Re:Bankrupcy? (2, Interesting)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402248)

Yes you are allowed to declare bankruptcy. This typically happens after awards like this and there is usually a negotiated settlement.

Unfortunately the net effect of this will probably be a change in the law, since the courts will see a $11+ billion settlement as a mockery of the court system.

Re:Bankrupcy? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402268)

its a civil order... not criminal. If it was criminal, it would be a fine to the state.

And yes, you can go bankrupt and not pay your debt, depending on the judgement of the court, but he will have to surrender everything* he owns.

The spammer offered to pay the fine... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402221)

...with soft viagra.

Chew on your own hay (5, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402224)

That's ok. MR JAMES MCCALLA read an email a week ago about how to get out of debt by declaring bankruptcy.

Re:Chew on your own hay (1)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402239)

That's ok. MR JAMES MCCALLA read an email a week ago about how to get out of debt by declaring bankruptcy.

No need. He knows a prince in Nigeria.

So.. (1)

mofomojo (810520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402233)

..how is he supposed to pay for this? Most people don't even earn this in a lifetime.

FTA... (0, Redundant)

mopslik (688435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402264)

"CIS acknowledged that it is unlikely to see any of the judgement money but said that it was time that spammers learnt that their actions would result in an economic death penalty."

he's not (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402274)

That's kind of the point. That is why they call it an economic death penalty, he has to pay for the rest of his life.

Re:he's not (1)

dusik (239139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402334)

Too bad he's not required to work, right? Can he get away with finding someone to stay with for free in exchange for house work or something and just sit on his lazy ass for the rest of his life?

In that case, his penalty is: mandatory vacation for life!

Re:he's not (0)

shaitand (626655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402430)

Even if he does work you can only garnish child support now. He could make $200,000/year and still not pay a dime. We don't have debtors prisons here and we never should for obvious reasons.

The punishment was a symbolic gesture. Prison time would have had a real impact.

Re:he's not (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402336)

But that'll just send him underground, and he'll accept cash payment to send out spam instead of his present situation.

I'm sure he's already sent money to an offshore bank account anyway. He's probably going to end up on a beach in Morocco or something.

Re:So.. (2, Funny)

neomunk (913773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402344)

He's not, he's just supposed to have a -35000 or so credt rating for the rest of his life.

And good for him too, after all, he should know of a business or two that'll give him a car or mortgauge no matter WHAT his credit rating.*

It IS nice to see someone take it in the monitary browneye like this tho.

* certain restrictions may apply

There is this high government official in Nigeria (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402402)

that will provide him with the money, if he in turn helps this high official in wiring money to the US.

I would rather that... (1)

Nightreaver (695006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402235)

...their actions would result in an economic death penalty.

How about a real one?

Re:I would rather that... (4, Insightful)

grungebox (578982) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402291)

...their actions would result in an economic death penalty.

How about a real one?


So you equate a sentence for spamming with a sentence used on serial murderers and the like? What even happened to that whole "let the punishment fit the crime" doctrine? I think the financial penalty along with any possible jail time is plenty.

Re:I would rather that... (4, Insightful)

nharmon (97591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402392)

Someone once calculated that the amount of time it takes you to download a spam message, identify it as spam, delete it, multiplied by the number of spam messages, equals a time equivilent to many of lifetimes.

So, collectively, his spamming robbed humanity of lifetimes worth of time that could have been spent doing something else.

But I do agree with you. Death sentences for spammers is just silly.

Re:I would rather that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402443)

280 million emails, if they "only took a second to erase" = 533years of peoples lives. This guy should get 7 life sentences, preferably as a roomate with some sort of sadistic serial homo rapist(who is given viagra daily).

Re:I would rather that... (2, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402481)

To let the punishment fit the crime, a source of innocent merriment would be to let everyone he spammed slap him in the face--once for each spam. "He's no fun, he fell right over!"

Real justice? (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402242)

Uhm, sorry to say, but how is fining someone $39/email really justified?

That seems beyond excessive.

Re:Real justice? (2, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402332)

How is counting every infringing download of a song equivalent to purchasing the album at full retail? You've got to pick a number somewhere.

I think they should have cut his nuts off instead.

Re:Real justice? (2, Interesting)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402353)

"The Iowa court was told the defendants 'falsely and illegally' represented that their e-mails originated from the CIS domain The e-mails used the cis.net as a return address to disguise the source of the e-mails to avoid complaints."
IANAL, but I'm guessing forging the ISP's address in the header has something to do with it. Seems perfectly fair to me; it's not legal to forge someone's signature in meatspace either.

Re:Real justice? (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402387)

It's punitive, and meant as a deterrent.

It really doesn't matter anyhow, as with the amount of emails sent out by your average spammer, any penalty that might actually stop them will bankrupt the target. 10 cents a mail still comes out to 110 million, after all, and that's low. At 10 cents a mail, some morons will do the math and still decide it's economically feasible.

Re:Real justice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402459)

I disagree! Users waste time sorting & deleting. Grandmas send money to Nigeria. ISP's spend tons money for bandwidth and storage of spam, in addition to the money they spend on technology to fight it. Add that up and you will see that the judgment isn't as unfair as you think.

And I thought my bills were bad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402246)

I'll bet it will take him a long time working minimum wage to pay off that debt! :-)

And first post, woot! :-) (oops, too late! :-( )

Spam == Money (1)

k3v1n (262210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402247)

This just proves that spam is big business, on both ends of the spectrum and even inside (read: spam filtering devices).

Of course, the only loser is the *users* caught in the middle...

It might as well be a 40-zillion dollar judgement! (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402252)

So, where is that huge check going to be postmarked from??

It's a nice symbolic gesture, but it'll never stop spam. There are too many morons out there who actually buy stuff from spam advertisements. Even if one user out of a million clicks on an ad, it didn't cost the spammer anything to send out those million messages from other people's PCs behind their unfirewalled DSL connection.

re: too many sales from spam? (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402347)

Do you know of anyone who actually did any real studies or investigations and found that spammers really are generating sales from the spam they send out?

In my own experience, when I've actually tried to visit a web-site or reply to an email given in a spam ad, it was already disabled/shut off. It seems like the war on spam has escalated to the point where ISPs are getting fairly efficient at shutting down the spammers' mailboxes and web presences within minutes or hours of them sending out a barrage of advertising.

I suspect the *real* problem is, big spammers are getting paid to advertise other people's products in this manner - never caring that it's completely and utterly ineffective marketing.

Re: too many sales from spam? (1)

CheechBG (247105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402456)

First of all, if it was truly "completely and utterly ineffective marketing" then this problem would have sorted itself out a long time ago. I know that someone, somewhere, is buying this overpriced crap, and generating enough revenue to keep this thing going.

Part of the issue (and definitely the hardest to solve) is that the ISP's have no choice but to take a reactive approach. As you correctly pointed out, the ISP's have "escalated to the point where ISPs are getting fairly efficient at shutting down the spammers' mailboxes and web presences within minutes or hours of them sending out a barrage of advertising" Now the problem becomes (and really always has been) that the ads are ALREADY SENT OUT. You can only shut it down after the violation has been made, you can't (nor should you under normal circumstances, once again, murky water here) either deny service to as "suspected" spammer or proactively monitor connection utils (like port 25, for example, not like the spammers have a centralized source anyway) for a certain threshold then chop, thereby at least reducing the number of emails that go through.

It's nice that the links die within a few hours, but I can rest assured knowing that if I was wanting to purchase those p3nif phills from a email with a dead link, that I need only wait a few hours before I get another email with a brand new one.

Re:It might as well be a 40-zillion dollar judgeme (1)

Divide By Zero (70303) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402382)

Change the law to affect the party that stands to profit from whatever action the email suggests AND the party that sent the mail.

$5.5B from SpammerDude, $5.5B from D1sc0unt V1agr4 Inc.

Fraught with problems, but I'm just some moron on slashdot - what do I know about legislation?

Now thats more like it! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402254)

Perhaps a penalty of that magnitude might start the spammers to feeling a sense of fear!

Send him to "pound me in the ass federal prison" (0, Troll)

Zendar (578450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402258)

I'd rather see thes guys do some jail time.

Re:Send him to "pound me in the ass federal prison (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402325)

*nods* This will never matter. Only child support can be garnished so nobody can ever actually make him pay this.

It's a big number but it is purely symbolic. They would have collected more if the fine had been $200, I doubt he'll pay that much of this.

Guess they learnt their lesson! (2, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402267)

CIS acknowledged that it is unlikely to see any of the judgement money but said that it was time that spammers learnt that their actions would result in an economic death penalty.

Why does that sentence look weird?

(going to google.com)
define: learnt

---No definitions were found for learnt.

Well at least we learnt one thing today.

Re:Guess they learnt their lesson! (1)

TiredOfCrap (885340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402300)

The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language Learnt: A past tense and a past participle of learn

Re:Guess they learnt their lesson! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402335)

This is from http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutsp elling/learnt?view=uk [askoxford.com]

These are alternative forms of the past tense and past participle of the verb learn. Learnt is more common in British English, and learned in American English. There are a number of verbs of this type (burn, dream, kneel, lean, leap, spell, spill, spoil etc.). They are all irregular verbs, and this is a part of their irregularity.

Now you learnt something else: Google is not an answer to everthing.

Re:Guess they learnt their lesson! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402360)

From m-w.com:

learnt.
chiefly British past and past participle of LEARN

Re:Guess they learnt their lesson! (1)

jpmkm (160526) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402405)

Oh okay. So because google doesn't have a definition for a word then it doesn't exist? Do a regular google search for 'learnt' and you'll get more than 14 million pages, plus a definition from answers.com.

Re:Guess they learnt their lesson! (1)

oberondarksoul (723118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402450)

Quoth Dictionary.app on Mac OS X:

learn |l?rn| verb ( past learned |l?rnd|or chiefly Brit. learnt |l?rnt|) [ trans. ] 1 gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught : they'd started learning French | [with infinitive ] she is learning to play the piano | [ intrans. ] we learn from experience.

It's common here in the UK, like burnt is used instead of burned.

Man, I really pissed off the grammar nazis... (4, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402480)

...and the spelling nazis at the same time! Guess I learnt my lesson :(

Would love to see more of this (2, Interesting)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402269)

More of this needs to happen to show Spammers that it's not going to be economically feasable to spam ppl anymore. I'm surprised more ISPs aren't shutting more and more of these folks down, but I guess open relays, anon proxies and zombie machines (everywhere) give the spammers a good choice of SMTP options. Personally I love my server setup to deal with Spam: greylisting -> postfix -> mailscanner -> razor2 -> pyzor -> dcc checks -> spam assassin -> clamav -> bitdefender -> mailscanner -> ~/Maildir I haven't had a real spam get into my INBOX in months, and I update my SA rules and virus defs nightly. I wish more would create these kinds of blocks and stick them in front of more and more mailservers...would help cut down on the spam, thus stopping more of it from being clicked on, thus cutting down on the economics of it all. Having a user click a 'this is spam' button is after the fact. I'm also a fan of tarpitting, though I haven't set it up...yet. Since I keep a list of spammers now, I can use that list once I have la brea or the like setup, thus hurting spammers more by tying up their sending boxes. Anyone have other ideas on how to automate this return fight?

Re:Would love to see more of this (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402367)

Personally I love my server setup to deal with Spam: greylisting -> postfix -> mailscanner -> razor2 -> pyzor -> dcc checks -> spam assassin -> clamav -> bitdefender -> mailscanner -> ~/Maildir I haven't had a real spam get into my INBOX in months

Wow, do you get any mail at all?

R.I.P. (2, Informative)

dusik (239139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402272)

I have no sympathy for this guy, and I nope the other spammers will take this as a hint. Every time I receive an e-mail offering me Viagra I take it as a personal insult ;)

Re:R.I.P. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402331)

Every time I receive an e-mail offering me Viagra I take it as a personal insult ;)

Yes, it's the Vaseline emails that you're waiting for ;)

Re:R.I.P. (1)

dusik (239139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402361)

How dare you insult me, you coward?

That vaseline was for your anonymous mother last night!

Sic the IRS on him instead (1)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402277)

Since its unlikely this ISP will see one red cent from this guy, I read that they can write the judgement off. A discount for them, but even worse for the spammer, a form of 'income' to him since he does not have to pay

So the IRS will be knocking on his door, asking for their rightfull taxes.

Re:Sic the IRS on him instead (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402419)

you know, that's actually a very good idea. Once the debt is to the IRS for taxes due he can't charge off the debt. lets say that the IRS taxes him at the rate of 42%, and discounts his tax to .1 cent on each dollar due, he still owes:
$4,620,000.00
That is a real bite in the ass that can't be ignored.
-nB

lucky guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402288)

Sometimes, in this day and age, I wish I was banned from using a computer for a few years... computer addiction is not teh fun :(

Oblig. Family Guy (2, Funny)

DaFallus (805248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402292)

Frank: Gentlemen, I propose we send a message to tobacco companies everywhere by fining the Spammers infinity billion dollars!

Congressman: That's the spirit Frank! But I think a real number might be more effective.

Whisper on a scream (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402309)

Well and good, I suppose. I'm all for trying to eliminate the financial incentive to send out spam, and impossible-to-satisfy judgements are one way of doing that.

At the same time, though, that under the current judicial system and global nation-state system, this amounts to not much. One guy who was unfortunate enough to be based in the US got nailed. Great. But I've got the sneaking suspicion there are more offenders scattered in places the long arm of American law just can't effectively get to. And their services just became incrementally more attractive, since there's one fewer person selling spam.

About right, I guess (1)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402314)

"The Iowa court was told the defendants "falsely and illegally" represented that their e-mails originated from the CIS domain The e-mails used the cis.net as a return address to disguise the source of the e-mails to avoid complaints."
Seeing how the ISP got screwed like that, this huge amount actually seems fair to me. Spam needs to be made absolutely unprofitable.
 
Anyone know how draconion the "not allowed to use a computer" laws are? Does it only apply to PC's, or would this guy not even be able to use the friar at McDonalds?

Re:About right, I guess (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402495)

[QUOTE]Does it only apply to PC's, or would this guy not even be able to use the friar at McDonalds?[/QUOTE]

I hope you mean fryer, cause I don't want to imagine a viagra spammer using a monk in any way.

Did any of the spam hark .... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402322)

Processing of judicial judgements?

I remember these being all the rage some time ago...

Ouch silly sentence (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402328)

This goes up there with the 340 year jail terms as being thoroughly silly . It is clear spammers need punished but they also need rehabilitation .
It would be fine if there was a default of seizing all the assets gained from their actions .. but this will ruin this man for life , they are only ,after all cheap fraudsters .
This type of sentence gives them no hope of rehabilitation and will most likely drive them to a further life of crime . After all if you owe that much , then you won't want your earnings going via official channels.
Now it is likely the fine will not stand at 11 Billion , but with whatever fine it is including a computer ban , they guy is screwd.
Now I agree he needs some form of punishment , but he should have a hope at the end.
How about seizing all the assets and making him perform a few years community service in a relevant field , perhaps even a stay in a minimum security prison or a term of parole .

Re:Ouch silly sentence (2, Interesting)

Control Group (105494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402404)

The sentence isn't about the criminal, it's about potential criminals. Whether or not this guy gets rehabilitated is almost (not quite) immaterial to the real goal: to make the cost of the crime (risk of getting caught * penalty assessed) greater than the benefit.

The lower the risk of being caught, the larger the penalty assessed has to be to compensate. Obviously, as in this case, there are functional limits. The size of the penalty, past some point, makes no difference; it spells economic death for the penalized. Simultaneously, people are very, very bad at assessing risk in personal decisions, so there's a floor beyond which the risk is too small to make up in penalty, regardless. Spam, unfortunately, is still in the category of "risk too small to worry about" crimes.

But that's the thinking behind the sentence. Obviously, an $1.1E10 fine is just hand-waving in terms of this particular case; this is just to set the stage, as it were.

Re:Ouch silly sentence (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402471)

How about seizing all the assets and making him perform a few years community service in a relevant field , perhaps even a stay in a minimum security prison or a term of parole .

How about 1 second of community service for each illegal e-mail, based on the amount of time he's wasted of someone else's life. Something like 15 years of picking up trash would seem fitting.

How he can pay: James McCalla LOTTERY WINNER! (2, Funny)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402340)

Would someone please forward the following to James McCalla for me, it seems they've been trying to reach him for some time!

----

FREELOTTO GROUP INTERNATIONAL
Prize Remittance Division (PRD)

RE: OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION
FILE REF NO: 07- 321786542
FAST NO: 2912144
LOTTO REF: FL/0507/FAST

Dear Prize Winner,

This email confirms that you have received from the FREELOTTO GROUP INTERNATIONAL an official notification of your lotto winning in the FREELOTTO AUTOMATIC SUBSCRIPTION TICKET GAME (F.A.S.T) played on the 1st of january 2006, at our lottery office complex Trafford, London.

    You have won a FREELOTTO PRIZE OF £ 500,000 [five hundred thousand pounds sterlings], a prize payout of your winning has been approved by the FREELOTTO GROUP. In accordance with the United Kingdom lottery ordinance, you are authorized as the lotto prize winner to request claims of your winning prize.
        The FREELOTTO AUTOMATIC SUBSCRIPTION TICKET (F.A.S.T) GAME is an online promotional program organized by the FREELOTTO GROUP INTERNATIONAL. A total of 500,000 different email addresses are entered for the FREELOTTO AUTOMATIC SUBSCRIPTION TICKET GAME (F.A.S.T).

SINCERELY,

ROBERT A. V. BENARD,

GROUP PRESIDENT - FLG

Banned From Using a Computer (2, Interesting)

SlothB77 (873673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402343)

This is an interesting judgement. I mean, almost everything uses computers in one way or another - cars have computers in them, is he banned from using a car?

I can get mired in technicalities, it is obvious the judgement refers to a personal computer. But that line does get fuzzy. Does an iPod count? A PDA? A cell phone?

Also, given how essential computer use is nowadays, this almost infringes on barring the pursuit of life, liberty yadda yadda. Yes he committed a crime, but it is almost to the point where essential tasks cannot be performed, but on a pc. And in three years, who knows.

Pointless (4, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402358)

From QuadCity Times: The lawsuit claimed that McCalla sent more than 280 million illegal spam e-mail messages into CIS's network...

He claimed that under state law in effect at the time, he was entitled to $10 per illegal e-mail.

Kramer said then that he likely will not see any of the judgment money.

Then what precisely, would be the point? If the claim is that this will somehow economically damage a spammer, when in fact not even a single dollar may be paid out ultimately to the aggrieved party. Not to mention the ruling is in Iowa but the spammer is in Florida, so there may be jurisdictional disputes, reciprocity or not.

This is merely smoke and mirrors, to make some people feel like they are doing their part in the war on spam. I don't see spam drying up. It seems to be getting worse. There has to be a real crackdown, perhaps even prison time if any inroads are to be made.

Wake me when they string this spammer up to a tall tree by his thumbs.

Re:Pointless (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402410)

Agreed, how a day in a federal pen for every email sent. Of course there would be still be awards for damages on top of that and $10 per email sounds fair.

1 spam email should be considered a serious crime. Spammers are now commonly sending millions but that should not mean that we treat cases of individual unsolicited mail less seriously.

Access denied (2, Insightful)

thaerin (937575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402366)

McCalla has also been banned from using a computer for 3 years.
br? No porn for you!

The Fine (1)

TheDoctorWho (858166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402374)

The Fine is so ridiculous that spammers will never take it seriously. --- It's been 10 seconds since you hit 'reply'.

Erm, what? (3, Insightful)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402375)

Ok. Let me preface this by saying I'm all for getting rid of spam and spammers.
That said, 11 BILLION dollars? That's more than the GDP some nations.... it's not only improbable that they'll collect, but what is the real point of asessing such a sum? They might have assigned a billion gazillion trillion quillion dollars for all that amount matters. My concern is "how will that help deal with the rest of them", so my cheering for this judgement is a bit tempered by the insanity of the judgement. Indebting an individual or even small group of individuals with 11 billion dollars is just as bad against spammers as the idiotic size of the RIAA lawsuits from a few years ago - last thing we need is sympathy for spammers because the hammer of justice fell too hard....

Re:Erm, what? (1)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402426)

The point is that this guy is buried - forever - should they be able to find him. They can just keep on seizing his assets, pretty much indefinitely. In short - all your bucks are belong to us. God I love my home state.

Math? (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402379)

I admit that arithmetic is not my strong suit, but I'm usually pretty good at multiplying and dividing by ten (in decimal, anyway).

By my math 280M x 10 = 2.8B. Where'd the other eight-odd billion come from? Or by "over" 280M did they mean 1,100M?

WTF?

-Peter

PS: The Fine Article was of no help.

-P

Economic Death Penalty (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402380)

Would that be by lethal bad credit rating injection, balance electrocution, employment firing squad, or by guillotining his bank cards?

(Just as I was begining to control my twitching every time someone slaps terrorism on something they don't like. Copyright Terrorists, parking lot terrorists, poop'n'scoop terrorists, even terror terrorists.)

James McCalla is a WINNER!!! (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402384)

Hey, I've got another one for him, apparently he's a winner! Someone forward this on to James McCalla as well, seems his money problems are behind him!

---

Euro - Afro Asian Sweepstake Lottery
An Affiliate of Foundmoney International
Arena Complex Km 18 Route de Rufisque
I.P.P Award Dept.
Johannesburg, South Africa.
Ref: EAASL/941OYI/03
Batch: 03/06/MA34

              WINNING NOTIFICATION:
Attn:Dear Sir/Madam

We happily announce to you the draw of the Euro - Afro Asian Sweepstake
Lottery International programs held on the 1st of May 2004 in Dakar
Senegal.Your e-mail address attached to ticket number: 564 75600545 188 with
Serial number 5388/02 drew the lucky numbers: 31-6-26-13-35-7, which
subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category. You have therefore been
approved to claim a total sum of US$4,500,000.00 (Four million, Five Hundred
Thousand United States Dollars) in cash credited to file
KPC/9080118308/03.This is from a total cash prize of US $ 45 Million dollars,
shared amongst the first Ten (10) lucky winners in this category.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep your winning
information confidential until your claims has been processed and your money
Remitted to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double
claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants. All
participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over
40,000 company and 20,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all
over the world.

This promotional program takes place every year. This lottery was promoted and
sponsored by Association of software producers. we hope with part of your
winning,you will take part in our next year US$20 million international
lottery. To file for your claim, please contact our paying officer:
Contact Person:Mr Peter Moyo
Foundmoney Int.
Email:pmoyo@lycos.co.uk

Remember, all winning must be claimed not later than 25th of
September,2004.After this date all unclaimed funds will be included in the
next stake.Please note in order to avoid unnecessary delays and
complications ,please remember to quote your reference number and batch
numbers in all correspondence.

Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform our agent as soon
as possible.

Congratulations once more from all members and staffs of this program. Thank
you for being part of our promotional lottery program.

Sincerely,
SIR T.U.Quarshie
AFRO-ASIAN Zonal Coordinator

GREETINGS (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402390)

HELLO HOW ARE YOU. I HOPE THIS LETTER FINDS YOU WELL, AND I APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT SEEMS A SURPRISING INTRUSION. I AM DR. NICK RIVIERA, FOUNDER AND CEO OF CIS INTERNET SERVICES IN CLINTON, OHIO, USA, AND I HOPE I MIGHT ENABLE YOUR ASSISTANCE IN AN ENTERPRISE OF GREAT PROFIT FOR BOTH OF US.

I AM THE AWARDEE OF RECORD OF A US FEDERAL COURT JUDGMENT OF ELEVEN BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION US DOLLARS ($11,200,000,000.00). UNFORTUNATELY, MY BANK ACCOUNT AT WELLS FARGO CLAIMS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO PROCESS SO LARGE A SUM AT ONCE. I MUST ACT QUICKLY, FOR I FEAR THE DEFENDANT IN THE CASE MAY FLEE THE COUNTRY TO AVOID RIGHTFUL PAYMENT. HENCE, THIS UNUSUAL REQUEST.

WELLS FARGO INFORMS ME LARGEST DEPOSIT AMOUNT ACCEPTED IS $999,999.00, AND ONLY FROM ANOTHER REGISTERED BANK ACCOUNT. THEREFORE, IF YOU WILL ACCEPT $999,999.00 INTO YOUR PERSONAL ACCOUNT, WITH UNDERSTANDING TO TRANSFER TO MY ACCOUNT WITHIN 30 DAYS, I WILL HAPPILY AND WITH INTEGRITY PAY YOU A TEN PERCENT HANDLING FEE ($99,999.90)...

_____

You get the idea...

Schwab

Ouch! (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402403)

11bn dollars hurts, but... 3 years without using computers? Where are the human rights in US courts? Thats inhuman. I think this poor guy is watching for a fast suicide way, anything, but not 3 years without computers.

The real subject: IOWA Sucks (0, Flamebait)

ILKO_deresolution (352578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402424)

spamming or not, Iowa always slaps the most ridiculous fines.
Iowa sucks ass sorry ass mother fuckers rot if you live in iowa!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't Worry, I Got an E-Mail, It's ok (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402432)

Don't worry, that money should be here from Nigeria... ... ... ...any second now, just you see... ... ... ...they probably waited to send it with my cheap viagra.

lost in the shuffle... (1)

NewmanBlur (923584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402434)

...was the fact that part of the ruling prohibits this guy from accessing the Internet for three years. Is it just me or does that seem light? Five years is more like it.

I think this is actually the key to the punishment. The $11B would only go to the ISP, but keeping this guy offline is good for the end-users as well. Not that there won't be others to take his place, but if we start seeing more of these rulings, more and more spammers could be prohibited from the net.

Appeal? (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402479)

While I agree that the guy deserves the shaft, where is spam in the technolgy problem priority these days?

Here's the short list:
DRM: As the sony rootkit points out, a little slap on the hand is all that the good corporate citizens get in a bad situation. RIAA sharing-is-evil corporatethink included.

Trusted Computing: Loss of control over much of anything on a computer that used to be mine.

Representative Democracy: I don't really care who's running the insane asylum, but it bothers me more that the individual is no longer represented effectively. Maybe it's always been the case, but now I'm just old enough to see it.

Patent Trolling Lawyers...should chase SPAMERS (1)

xoip (920266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402482)

Lawyers looking for the big score should track them all down and get a contingency fee of x%

In a related story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402485)

In a related story, the State of Iowa went bankrupt after it, too, had to pay an $11 billion dollar fine after it sent 280 million identical emails informing the spammer's victims of the settlement.

Send annoying emails... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402490)

get a $11 billion dollar fine.


Kill thousands of foreigners with poisoned gas, leaving nearly half a million of them permanently injured, and you'll pay out only
$470 million [wikipedia.org] .


Why is this spammer being forced to pay more for his petty, annoying crimes than real, serious criminals (like rapists, murderers, child molestors, and so forth)? The worst thing spam ever did to anyone was waste their time.

fine? (1)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402493)

The case began to go poorly for Mr. McCalla when after being asked by the prosecution whether he had in fact sent unsolicited email, he was only able to answer with phrases such as: This T9rade isOn The M0ve._trueness. and Other guys are improving themselves..are you?

The problem is Visa/MC/PayPal (1)

MountainLogic (92466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402497)

The fix for must SPAM is simple. Change the Uniform Commercial Code to allow an automatic refund from your credit card account upto in one year after any sales based on SPAM. No appeal or reason needed. If this were the case, no credit card company would touch SPAMers. The real problem are the banks as they seem happy to make money off of SPAM.
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