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Spam Government The Courts News

Spammer Alan Ralsky Pleads Guilty 144

Posted by kdawson
from the big-fish-landed-and-gaffed dept.
Czmyt sends the excellent news that one of the US's most notorious spammers has pleaded guilty and could serve 6 years in jail. "Five individuals pleaded guilty today in federal court in Detroit for their roles in a wide-ranging international stock fraud scheme involving the illegal use of bulk commercial e-mails, or 'spamming'... Alan M. Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Mich., and Scott K. Bradley, 38, also of West Bloomfield, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and to violate the CAN-SPAM Act. ... Ralsky and Bradley also pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering, and violating the CAN-SPAM Act. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Ralsky acknowledges he is facing up to 87 months in prison and a $1 million fine..."
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Spammer Alan Ralsky Pleads Guilty

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  • by ultraexactzz (546422) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:16AM (#28437247) Journal
    ...involved leaving 10% of him here, sending 50% to the Prince of Nigeria, and sending 40% to the corrupt Nigerian government officials as a bribe. It has worked well for generations - But we'll need your help to complete the transaction...
  • Math (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:23AM (#28437309) Journal

    Ralsky acknowledges he is facing up to 87 months in prison and a $1 million fine..

    Summary says 6 years, then 87 months. Someone want to RTFA and tell me where the difference comes in?

    • Re:Math (Score:4, Informative)

      by Andr T. (1006215) <andretaff@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:30AM (#28437365)

      Alan M. Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Mich., and Scott K. Bradley, 38, also of West Bloomfield, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and to violate the CAN-SPAM Act. Ralsky and Bradley also pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering, and violating the CAN-SPAM Act. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Ralsky acknowledges he is facing up to 87 months in prison and a $1 million fine under the federal sentencing guidelines while Bradley acknowledges that he is facing up to 78 months in prison and a $1 million fine under the federal sentencing guidelines.

      John S. Bown, 45, of Fresno, Calif., pleaded guilty ... facing up to 63 months in prison and a $75,000 fine under the federal sentencing guidelines

      William C. Neil, 46, of Fresno, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the CAN-SPAM Act and violating the CAN-SPAM Act. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Neil acknowledges he is facing up to 37 months in prison...

      James E. Fite, 36, of Culver City, Calif., ... up to two years in prison and a $30,000 fine under the federal sentencing guidelines.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      I've not read the article, but maybe 87 months is the maximum penalty, and 6 years is what he is likely to get?

  • by Mr_Icon (124425) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:38AM (#28437437) Homepage

    Once he's in jail, we need to find out who his cellmate is, so we can send him inordinate amounts of penis enlargement ads.

    • And all the V1@gr4 and C!5al1s he can swallow!

    • Once he's in jail, we need to find out who his cellmate is, so we can send him inordinate amounts of penis enlargement ads.

      Or you could donate a dollar to his enlargement fund.

    • by houghi (78078)

      I always had my doubts if these things worked, but with your posting I understand that the pills do work, so now I am going to order them.

  • Sorry Dude (Score:5, Informative)

    by sir_eccles (1235902) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:46AM (#28437483)

    "Greetings friend, this is Homer Simpson, aka, Happy Dude. The courts have ordered me to call everyone, and apologize for my telemarketing scam...I'm sorry. If you can find it in your heart to forgive me, send $1 to Sorry Dude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield. You have the power!"

  • I suppose that if Mr Ralsky has pleaded guilty, he had a good reason... To my non-lawyer eyes, it is because he would have faced a much bigger sanction if he were proved guilty in the end.

    Does my reasoning stand, or not at all? In a more general way, are there any quantitative differences in penalties depending upon yours pleading (non) guilty?

  • Let's just simplify it all at no expense to the taxpayers.

    Anyone who ever got an unsolicited email from Ralsky gets one shot at him. One for each email. No weapons, no tools, nothing lethal, and no closed fists. Then he goes free.

    And then after a few million slaps to the nuts, we all jump up and go "HAHA! Don't you just HATE being misled!" and throw him in prison, take all his money, and give his cellmate (who has anger issues due to being conned in stock scams) a box containing his body weight in Viagra.

    TH

    • by Plugh (27537)

      Actually, English Common Law is not too different from this. The idea behind "having justice done" was restitution, ie, the idea that the perpetrator has to "restore" the injured person to his "whole" state.

      Today, it's the government that brings the charges, and then the injured party gets victimized twice -- once by the criminal, and once again by the government who taxes him to pay for the incarceration of the criminal.

      Government justice [youtube.com] works just as well as government-made cars, government-run post off

      • So, wanna get in on a BRAND NEW BUSINESS as a FEDERAL PRISON PROVIDER COMPANY? It's a great ground level opportunity to build your prison from the ground up! Get all the local, state and federal subsidies you could ever squander! Hire your own team of crack prison guards!

        WARNING: Waterboarding may be illegal in some jurisdictions. Your mileage may vary. Check with your local law enforcement agencies. Nah, don't bother, they won't answer, they won't have to, they're LAW ENFORCEMENT.

  • Summary fix (Score:3, Funny)

    by swb (14022) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:56AM (#28437563)

    "...Ralsky acknowledges he is facing up to 87 months in A FEDERAL, POUND-ME-IN-THE-ASS prison..."

    There, fixed it.

  • $1 million fine (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smdm (1125481) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:58AM (#28437577)
    Finally we make real money from SPAM!
    • by Solandri (704621)
      Did they confiscate his earnings too? He supposedly made $3 million [forbes.com] by spamming. If he's just being fined $1 million and gets to keep the other $2 million, I'd hardly call this effective even with the prison sentence.
  • by kenp2002 (545495)

    So is he's going to a nice minimum security prision for 6 years on the tax payer dime and getting fined a million eh? How much do you want to bet he'll earn more then a million in 6 years in interest on the money he's taken in.

    Sentence should have been 6 years and all assets seized.

    • How about a RIAA-style punishment? No time, but an amount of USD that we imagine he could have made in that time with all the spam?

      What good does it serve if he gets locked away? He costs my money that way. Fine him for a few trillion bucks and lock some nice shackles to his ankles so you have a useful handle to shake him at.

      • by kenp2002 (545495)

        Yes I would agree. Perhaps a solution would be:

        Take the ill-gotten gains and deposit them in a bank. 50% of the interest earned goes towards restitution and the other 50% to cover the costs of parole and house arrest.

        Life moves on.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Naw, sentence should ahve been to seize all assets and a month in jail.

      Seriously, I don't want to pay to feed this guy, put him on parole and make him a ex-con.
      Life will be hard, and it's cheaper for us.

      • by kenp2002 (545495)

        Without turning this into a 50 post thread on the concept of criminal justice I'l summarize thusly:

        "Take everything away from a criminal and leave him nothing but the title of criminal; then all you will every have is a criminal."

        We learned this in WW1\WW2 as we decimated Germany's ability to function as a nation after WW1 which was the root cause for the Nazi rise to power. We learned that when you put a man in jail then release him into the public with no future, no second chances, no resources, all you d

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because people STILL buy their products

  • by azav (469988)

    I'm so so so happy about this.

  • by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:35AM (#28437989) Homepage Journal

    There are many here who say "It's just a little spam - have some perspective."

    OK, so how about this perspective:

    Let's just slap his wrist.

    Once for every spam reported to Spamcop.net.

    Just for one day.

    After all, it's just a slap on the wrist - that's not so bad, is it?

    • by dargaud (518470)

      Let's just slap his wrist. Once for every [...]

      That was the ending of Les Onze Mille Verges [wikipedia.org], a classic porn book of over a century ago.

  • Shouldn't it be they plead as plural?

    • by Vegeta99 (219501)

      Gramatically? Yes. Colloquially? No. At least not where I'm at in Pennsylvania. When you're talking about how someone first responded to an indictment, it's pleaded. Every other use? Plead.

  • Email filtering company MessageLabs reports that Egham, Surrey, on the suburban outskirts of London, is the town that receives the most spam in Britain [today.com].

    "It's not like there's much else to do," said Boris Busybody, 77 (IQ), of Egham Hythe, idly whirling his four-foot penis around his head in a desultory fashion. "Expanding your manhood, growing your breasts, increasing your sperm ... the Lib Dem phone calls get a bit much. That's Doctor Busybody, by the way. My Ph.D arrived last week."

    Spam has revitalised the local economy. Busybody has given up cab driving and is now working a lucrative job processing payments from home after he sent them his bank details in response to an urgent security message. "I had that King Otumfuo Opoku Ware II in the back of my cab once. Very generous and helpful fellow."

    The Egham Tourist Board has seized the day, with plans for a 50 foot tall penis sculpture at Junction 13 of the M25 on the exit ramp to the town. The sculpture will be encircled by a genuine imitation Rolex and spray a fountain of Spermamax, obtained at a very reasonable rate from a Canadian pharmacy. "You will search an hour for your underwear in the ocean of our spam!" is to become the new town motto.

    "I did get a good one the other day," says Busybody. "Barrister Matthew Sergeant Busybody of MessageLabs said we could promote our town to millions of people just by sending them an advance fee to process our incoming email. The stuff they try! 'Scuse me, V!k@grk@ kicking in, got to go have sex again. Sorry."

  • Well, (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheMightyFuzzball (1500683) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:41AM (#28438051)
    That is less money that you will have to pay for downloading 25 songs, at least.
  • I don't get it anymore. Someone shares 24 songs online and she gets a 1.92 M$ fine, and this guy, who annoyed a whole lot of people and got money for that too, only gets a 1 M$ fine? So if you do something for others you are fined more than when you annoy people because you get money for it? Unbelievable. What happened to the Land of the Free?

  • by Tempest_2084 (605915) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:12AM (#28438401)
    This guy was my neighbor when I was growing up. It doesn't surprise me that he grew up to be a spam king, he was always looking for a way to 'get rich quick' and had a more than average understanding of computers (and a less than average understanding of just about everything else). I can remember him running some sort of telecommunications software on his Apple II every time I was over at his house playing with his daughter. Now looking back on it, I wonder what he was doing and if it was legal. Then again he gave me hundreds of pirated Apple II games at the time so probably not (although I was one happy 10 year old).
  • It could be worse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by incripshin (580256) <markpeloquin@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @11:36AM (#28439695) Homepage
    He got off easy. Just think of how much money he would owe if he had been downloading music. And I'm sure he got paid well with his spam business.
  • Maybe I'm just a simpleton but shouldn't fines exceed the amount of money a person profits in a scam? Ralsky supposedly made over $4 million in less than 18 months. Not that I'm surprised the same thing happens with corrupt CEO's and their ilk. The idea that someone looses a fraction of their ill gotten gains, spends a couple years in jail then gets to live out the rest of their life in relative comfort with the rest of the fortune they managed to gain through their illegal activities does nothing but ma

  • And in the end... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:24PM (#28440377) Homepage Journal
    ... it won't make a damned bit of difference in the overall spamming epidemic. One spammer thrown in jail is like stomping on an ant colony; it might give some immediate satisfaction to those who are of that persuasion, but there are still trillions of ants left doing the same thing.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: spam is an economic problem. If the US wrote 500 new anti-spam laws today, making it illegal to so much as consider sending out spam, it wouldn't matter worth shit. People who are sending out spam today do it because people pay them to do it; and they will find places to send it from so that they can keep making money at it. They all know that the US laws aren't worth anything anywhere outside the US (and their worth inside the US is debatable as well), which is part of why we see so much spam come from other countries.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      It's an education problem.
      Educate people not to reply.

      Bot-nets are an economic problem.

      • It's an education problem. Educate people not to reply.

        That is a pie-in-the-sky approach. You cannot possibly "educate" every person with an email address in the world to not reply to spam.

        If you can remove the economic incentive of spam, then - and only then - will spam go away. Until then spammers will always make sales for the spamvertised domains, and hence the spammers will always get paid for their work. Which means we will all continue to see more spam.

        • by bhiestand (157373) *

          It's an education problem.
          Educate people not to reply.

          That is a pie-in-the-sky approach. You cannot possibly "educate" every person with an email address in the world to not reply to spam.

          If you can remove the economic incentive of spam, then - and only then - will spam go away. Until then spammers will always make sales for the spamvertised domains, and hence the spammers will always get paid for their work. Which means we will all continue to see more spam.

          Now to quote your sig...

          Do you really have enough information to support your claim?

          Do you?

          I've seen some pretty solid evidence that a lot of spamvertised domains don't actually profit from it, but there's no shortage of new customers so the spammers keep making profits without having to worry about retaining customers.

          • Do you really have enough information to support your claim?

            Do you?

            Actually, yes, I do.

            I've seen some pretty solid evidence that a lot of spamvertised domains don't actually profit from it, but there's no shortage of new customers so the spammers keep making profits without having to worry about retaining customers.

            I would like to see the evidence you speak of. In support of my claim, I offer The SpamHaus entry of Leo Kuvayev [spamhaus.org]. We see that Mr. Kuvayev (who uses several aliases as well) repeatedly uses spam for the same companies, using the same web pages. The contact info all goes back to the same place for his new customers. Whoever is paying him for his spamming services is buying his services repeatedly.

            And this is very common in the spam enterprise.

  • Thats should keep them busy for decades.
  • Living in this home --

    http://www.realtor.com/property-detail/6747-Minnow-Pond-Dr_West-Bloomfield_MI_48322_cc4f3302 [realtor.com]

    while a lot of us, his victims, are just scraping by.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Yes, that moment you spent not reading his spam is the difference between living in your home and a mansion.

      This guy cause for people to make money they he got.
      really, if spam went away a lot of admins would be out of work.

  • Now it's all about the Facebook spam? [craigslist.org]. Either West Bloomfield, MI is the spam capital of the world, or these guys operations are bravely soldiering on.

    I am not discounting either possibility.

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