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FBI Raids Home of Spam King Alan Ralsky 422

wstearns writes "The Detroit News is reporting that the FBI has raided Alan Ralsky's home. In the raid, the FBI took computers and financial records, effectively shutting him down. Mr. Ralsky has been frequently covered here."
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FBI Raids Home of Spam King Alan Ralsky

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  • by dzafez ( 897002 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:28PM (#13804845) Homepage
    Will I be notified, if they find out I'm a victim??

    Hell the guy from nigeria didn't write me for a while, I'll send him an E-Mail. I'm still waiting for a large transaction :-)
    • they just took away his stuff, how lame! he committed a crime and should be punished.

      if i was the FBI, i would take those penis enlargment pills and start shoving them up his ass until he begs for mercy.

      poor business ethics are ignored so much in todays society that it's hardly considered news anymore.
      • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @05:28PM (#13805470) Journal

        they just took away his stuff, how lame! he committed a crime and should be punished.

        Ya know, as big of a sleezeball as we might think he is, the FBI doesn't (nor should it) have the authority to punish him for whatever crimes you think he might have committed.

        That role is reserved for juries and judges.

        • by ( 142825 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @06:36PM (#13805785) Homepage
          I had a tour of the FBI's cyber crime office in Boston -- they got some neat toys.

          They didn't just take away his stuff. They took away his stuff, to then copy it onto network storage. Then copy the drives onto otpical media. Then copy it onto hard drives. All while leaving the originals unmodified. Then they will analyze the data to gather evidence.

          It would be real sweet to know the domains that they used so that every spam victim can file suit against Ralsky and Bradley. We can take out spammers with distributed lawsuits. A spammer can survive 1,2 or maybe 10 lawsuits, but can they survive 100? I, with help, took out Avtech [].

          I tracked down a big time ink spammer [], going under the name of payless inks, top quality inks, inks on sale. I posted the strings to search for on my spam page [] so that any spam victim can file suit. If you file suit, contact me and I'd be happy to serve the summons and complaint.

    • by jurt1235 ( 834677 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @04:02PM (#13805044) Homepage
      This is the proposed message:

      DeAR u.ser

      Precvio3sly you have b33n victim of unsol.citated e-mail, so called s.pam selling u v1agra and p.enis enlarg.ements products, us.iNG aNNoying layouts ant teipos to your s.p.a.m..filters.
      The FBI now offers you the ReA.L links to the places where you can buy your V.1agrA and P.eniSEnlar.gement produCTs for the real pr1ce without the middle man.

      Please go to for the fastest S$hop
    • Will I be notified, if they find out I'm a victim??

      The pills didn't work?
  • by thesnarky1 ( 846799 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:29PM (#13804850) Homepage
    I am heir to the FBI throne which was recently desposed. FOr only $2000 down, you can secure your right to this massive wealth as well.
  • by Datagod ( 613152 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:30PM (#13804856)
    Did they get his Spam Crown and Scepter?
  • Oh no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rock217 ( 802738 ) <> on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:31PM (#13804858) Homepage Journal
    NOW who will fill my inbox?!
  • by Seq ( 653613 ) <slashdot AT chrisirwin DOT ca> on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:31PM (#13804863)
    I had thought my Inbox was rather empty today...
    • Tell me about it -- I knew something was up when I only had 367 unread messages in my 'Spam' folder. I thought maybe the internet was down last night or something.
  • ...unless they shot him.
  • Seriously -- whether you like Ralsky or not, this practice of seizing computer equipment is probably unconstitutional. He is being deprived of his property and his ability to make a living, without due process of law. According to TFA, all of his computer were seized, shutting him down.

      We may object to Ralsky's nefarious tactics, but the point is that SourceForge could in principle be next.

    • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) * on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:36PM (#13804898)
      If you know this happened, you can be sure they had a warrant. That means there was due process.
      • by ElMiguel ( 117685 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @04:01PM (#13805042)

        From the Wikipedia article on due process []:

        Procedural due process is essentially based on the concept of procedural fairness. As a bare minimum, it includes an individual's right to be adequately notified of charges or proceedings involving him, and the opportunity to be heard at these proceedings.

        Was he notified before the raid? Did he get a chance to be heard and to oppose the raid before it happened? I know he will have an opportunity to do so in the trial (if there is one), but the point is that even now his livelihood has already been destroyed.

        I know it's hard to sympathise with Ralsky, but this could also happen to many other people if they are sued by the RIAA or MPAA, using exactly the same legal principle.

        • by SScorpio ( 595836 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @04:37PM (#13805223)
          Dear Drug Lord,

          The FBI will be performing a raid on your crack house at 123 N. Main, on October 27th at 11:45pm. We better not finding anything illegal there.

          Your friendly Federal Bureal of Investigation

          I'm sorry but are you a fucking retard? The point of a raid is to go in and find indisputalable evidence that the crime was committed. A warrent will show that there is some evidence to it happening, but the raid will produce the evidence that will make the trail happen and get the assholes into jail. Or are you just afraid the FBI will raid your house and steal your computer to arrest you for all your downloaded p0rn, and MP3s.

    • Seriously -- whether you like Ralsky or not, this practice of seizing computer equipment is probably unconstitutional. He is being deprived of his property and his ability to make a living, without due process of law. According to TFA, all of his computer were seized, shutting him down.

      Last I checked, a warrant was generally needed before property could be seized. Last I checked, a warrant equated to due process, at least until the trial ends. How else do you think the police get to keep evidence until
    • Oh bullshit. You don't know what you're talking about. The FBI can't seize someone's property without a warrant, and they can't do a raid without a warrant either. Ralsky had due process, and he has more due process coming up, he'll either be charged and the seized property will become trial evidence, or he'll get his property back after the investigation.
      • Ever talk to someone whose property has been seized?
        *IF* it comes back functional, it's obsolete by the time you see it again.
        They also take the weirdest shit.
        A kid running an abandonware bot on IRC had his music CDs, consoles, and books taken as well.

        Still, I wish they'd just stick Ralsky in an evidence locker for two years.
    • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:38PM (#13804914) Journal
      Warrants unsealed last week revealed that agents in September seized computers, laptops, financial records and disks from the 8,000-square-foot home of Alan M. Ralsky.

      Apparently, he is getting due process.
    • Seriously -- whether you like Ralsky or not, the practice of sending people gobs and gobs of email without them asking for it or doing business with you in the first place is probably unethical.
    • My original comment was rapidly moderated up to +5 Interesting and spawned a lot of replies. Then it sank to "1,Interesting". Looking at the moderation screen for the article, apparently it has now been moderated 0 times.

      And I thought capricious editors were only for the paranoid. Thanks, guys.

    • He is being deprived of his property and his ability to make a living, without due process of law.

      If someone makes their living kicking my in the guy parts, forgive my complete lack of sympathy when he gets his steel-toe shoes confiscated. "But without shoes", you say, "how will he make his living?" My answer: who cares? That's his problem, and not one I'm at all interested in.

      What gives him the "right" to earn money in this illegal manner, and why shouldn't the FBI be allowed to gather evidence agai

    • I'm going to disagree that it is unconstitutional. The equipment is 'evidence', and warrants were issued for its confiscation. When his trial is over, he will get his equipment back (although the hard drives might be wiped clean, should he be found guilty).

      And although Mr. Ralsky says he is effectively out of business, I trust him and this statement as much as I trust his honorable treatment of email address removal requests - which is no trust at all*. He certainly has backup tapes off site. He also has the means to start right back up - or he should have, considering the money involved. If he doesn't, then he is an idiot, and gets what he deserves. SBC wouldn't go out of business if their bookkeeping computers were seized - same principle here.

      I know I expect SourceForge to have backup tapes held off site. If SourceForge and OSDN don't have disaster recovery plans already written and tested - shame on them.

      Every business that depends on IT should have a DR plan. Even if law enforcement mistakenly seizes your computers - that doesn't excuse your business from failing. Once you get 'large enough' it is irresponsible to not have a DR plan.

      *According to the Spamhaus Project [], Mr. Ralsky hosts his email servers in China to evade U.S. law. [] And as an email administrator, I don't see any evidence that email removal requests result in less spam - quite the opposite, really.

    • There was no mention of it in the article, so it probably wasn't used in Ralsky's case, but....

      In the US, law enforcement working for any level of government can seize whatever they want under the RICO Act. They simply have to say "this object was related to selling drugs" and its their's. Doesn't have to be true. Doesn't require a trial. Doesn't even need evidence to support the statement. It is just gone. And good luck getting it back if it isn't related to drugs. []

      I believe it is uncons

  • by Zerbey ( 15536 ) * on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:32PM (#13804878) Homepage Journal
    "Effectively" shut down? So he's free to just buy new servers, host them elsewhere and restart his spamming or have they slapped an injunction off him telling him to stop?
  • Porn? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:33PM (#13804879)
    He must have been spamming something obscene, because the FBI doesn't have the resources to deal with spammers while they're on this moral crusade to re-puritanize this god fearing country.

    Besides, spamming is okay as long as you're a big corporation that either does or may contribute or lobby congress at some point.

    Spamming is only bad if you're a private citizen doing it, sort of like how raping teenage babysitters, doing coke, driving drunk and killing women when you drive off a bridge and wander away is only bad for private citizens.
    • The FBI is a rather large orignization. They are capable of doing many things at once. The US attorney's office has made it clear they are going to persue criminal cases against spammers now, and thus the FBI will be investigating.

      Now not all spam is legal, as per CAN-SPAM, some is legal. However most isn't. Most of it is fradulant in nature, or does not have the proper opt-outs and such. Thus, it can be subject to a criminal investigation.

      But please, stop the stupid hyperbole. The FBI is plenty capable of
  • by JoeLinux ( 20366 ) <joelinux&gmail,com> on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:34PM (#13804885) Homepage
    I mean, I'm sure he opted out of FBI raids on questionable business practices....
  • by azav ( 469988 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:38PM (#13804910) Homepage Journal
    I just phoned the Detroit office of the FBI who raided Ralsky's home at (313) 965-2323 and told the responding agent that I was so unbelievably happy that their office raided Alan Ralsky.

    The agent was amazed and replied "uh thank you. We don't get calls like this very often."

    OMG. Wow.

    This is an excellent opportunity to show your support that we STRONGLY support their action and efforts!

    If they know their is huge public support for this, that may help them to shut down more of these spammers!

    This is AWESOME!

    Just call and say thanks and this will keep things moving in the right direction.

    • Yeah, because I'd love it if my employer could be shut down and put me out of a job simply because he was accused but was not neccesarily guilty of a crime.
    • Wow, I'm glad you called them. I would love to have seen the look on that smug bastard's face when the FBI hauled away his computers.
    • "Just call and say thanks and this will keep things moving in the right direction."

      Why do you want to spam FBI with useless phone calls? I agree that people have to express what they thing, but this is ridiculous, just imagine the poor guys over there responding to the avalanche of phone calls...
    • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Sunday October 16, 2005 @04:20PM (#13805141)
      Just call and say thanks and this will keep things moving in the right direction.

      Hold your horses. Why was he "raided"? What law did he break? Did you break the same law last week?

      I hate spammers with a passion, but I like my freedom a little more than they are irritating to me.
  • The world would be a better place when spam is gone.
  • The spam problem will never be halted by arresting the spammers. There's so much money to be made that there'll always be someone to step up to the plate as soon as a spammer is taken down. The only way to stop spam is to stop it being profitable. Stop people buying from spam adverts and noone will bother to send the adverts. The only ways to do that though is to stop people seeing the adverts (spam filtering), or to educate them that 99.9% of products advertised are a complete rip-off .. and the 0.1% that
    • Much as it's great to see a suspected criminal arrested for sending this crap out, there's no chance that it'll actually made any significant dent in the torrent of spam flowing through mail servers every day.

      I doubt that. Spamhaus estimates that a couple hundred people are responsible for most of the world's spam. If spammers are regularly arrested and sent off to jail, my guess the bottom-feeders doing it will return to embezzlement, pigeon drops, and selling Herbalife. They've just picked spamming becaus
    • Not if you send out spam emails to all the other spamlords that show their buddy getting his shit pushed in by Bubba the Mad Dog Rapist in the joint.
    • I doubt this claim. My pick is that spammers actually sells their services for those "sellers", but there is no proof of profit returns. Yeah, it would be great to spam in such level, but I actually don't know much people buys it stuff. Spammers just speculate on this, but I guess such arrests, also a sucess of antispam services shows a set of golden age of spam.
      • I have to assume this is correct. The existance of Spam is driven by the supply side (various pyramid schemes other get rich quick scams) and not the demand side (people buying the products).

        The parent is pushing an idealistic Perfect Market approach to elimniating spam, but that violates the Sucker Born Every Minute rule.
    • Will arrests stop ALL spammers, no way. Much in the same way the death penalty will not stop a murderer.

      But if you make it financially not worth doing, it will slow down. You arrest them for breaking spam laws, it will slow down.

      I will say that yes, people have the right to send emails promoting products, as long as it is not deceptive. Now most spam is deceptive in some way, or multiple ways. The people using spam as an advertising means are just as deceptive and can't be trusted with you credit card.


    • That's a rather tired cliche, and rather corporate too. It's the little guy's fault, of course, for being human. Not every country in the world is soft on spam and allows torrents of it, unlike the USA and a few others. A equally effective remedy is to put enforcement in place that makes the spammer realize that he has a high risk of being caught and if caught will get the book thrown at him. It's not as if we don't know who a lot of these people are, and in many cases we've known who they are for years. Th
    • Knowing that at any moment the FBI could come and seize everything you have creates a pretty high barrier to entry to the spam trafficking market, at least in the USA. Every raid the FBI makes raises the bar a little bit. Eventually could this cause some other spammers to rethink their choice of lifestyle? Or alternatively, cause more spammers to move offshore, with the risk of having your entire netblock effectively shut off to mail servers?

      Cracking down on spammers by the FBI is great. If they do business
    • The spam problem will never be halted by arresting the spammers. The only way to stop spam is to stop it being profitable.

      Yeah, and if nobody ever gave money to con artists, there would be no con artists.

    • "The only way to stop spam is to stop it being profitable."

      This is simply not possible.

      The cost of spamming is so low that you can send multiple emails to every person on the planet, and if you get even a single response, you've made a profit.

      In order to eliminate spam you're going to have to eliminate stupid people. Every single one of them on the entire planet.

      Ain't gonna happen.
  • by humankind ( 704050 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:50PM (#13804974) Journal
    This is a very good sign.

    The reason spammers operate is because it has been profitable for them due to their operating expenses (apathetic law enforcement, hazy jurisdiction, theft of third-party bandwidth and resources).

    As more of these people get raided and have to deal with serious legal and criminal issues, the "cost" of operating will go up substantially, and as a result, it will not be as profitable for them to operate.

    Let's hope the FBI follows through on this and puts this guy in jail. There's no doubt he committed a ton of crimes, including computer tampering, pornography, identity theft, etc. Spammers routinely break loads of laws in operating their business. Finally, we're seeing some agencies start to enforce these laws.
  • i would just like to say:
    You did WHAT []???

    i haven't had the time to read the comments so this joke has probably been already said, but:
    you've slashdoted him via snail mail :)
  • by dj245 ( 732906 )
    You go to federal "pound you in the ass" prison for stuff like that
  • by Dynamoo ( 527749 ) * on Sunday October 16, 2005 @03:59PM (#13805033) Homepage
    Ralksy isn't the worst of the bunch.. perhaps his BIGGEST mistake is actually having some sort of media profile. There are plenty of spammers out there who are even more despicable than him, but it seems that Ralsky is an easy target. Perhaps they should consider going after Robert Soloway [] or Alec Defrawy [] next?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hmm... don't you think it's kinda strange that the worlds number one spam arsehole is arrested just days before important discussions concerning the future of the Internet are held [] particularly when a number of countries have expressed serious concerns at the lack of aciton against SPAM + PORN?

    Brazil: "For those that are still wondering what Triple-X means, let's be specific, Mr. Chairman. They are talking about pornography. These are things that go very deep in our values in many of our countries."

    Syria: "
  • by grolaw ( 670747 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @05:15PM (#13805425) Journal
    This will not prove to be much of a bust. If there were anything of substance in the information there would have been a felony arrest rather than merely a search warrant.

    Of course, there are clandestine warrants - entry and installation of a logger followed by entry with a "regular" warrant to collect the data & computers. Perhaps an arrest will follow shortly.

    If all the matter comes down to is a nice little fine....

    This clown will just up his contribution to the Republicans - just making money as a free rider is status quo ante for the Bushies.
  • by merc ( 115854 ) <> on Sunday October 16, 2005 @06:22PM (#13805713) Homepage
    Alan Ralsky is one of the most egregious and pernicious of the spam scum out there. He tops the ROKSO (Registry of Known Spam Offenders) lists and is responsible for a very large volume of spam originating from APNIC netspace. Much of his spam hosting is overseas and he regularly emits spam by relaying it through zombied systems open relays or proxies. As you will see from the article some of his own state's anti-spam legislation were actually created with him solely in mind.

    I can only hope we see more of this in kind, especially Waggoner, Marin, Scelson, Lin, Martino and ESPECIALLY Soloway who, like Ralsky, has always been quite the unapologetic spammer.

    As an earlier poster said, thank you to the FBI for their hard work, and also for starting to take this problem seriously.
  • by sirgoran ( 221190 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @06:46PM (#13805835) Homepage Journal
    I for one applaud the efforts of our FBI Overlords and welcome more news like this in the future.


  • First they came for the child pornography wierdos
    and I did not speak out
    because I did not look at child Pornography

    Then they came for the spammers
    and I did not speak out
    because I did not spam

    Then they came for the GNAA
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a troll

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me
    • Words fail me.

      Yes, they came for the criminals. That's because if they don't, the criminals will come for you.

      And spam is not a victimless crime. Anyone believing the opposite is more then welcome to send me a cheque for the part of my bandwidth costs that are caused by spam, plus a much, much larger one for the time it wastes.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @08:12PM (#13806175) Journal
    This is the FBI. Come out with your penis enlarged!
  • condolences (Score:4, Insightful)

    by trelanexiph ( 605826 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @09:57PM (#13806584) Homepage
    should be directed to:

    Alan Murray Ralsky
    6747 Minnow Pond Dr,
    West Bloomfield, MI 48322
    Telephone: 248-926-0688 * Confirmed

    Remember console frequently, and console late at night. Snail Mail gladly accepted. In fact, considering the trash he's sent us, filling his voicemail is entirely appropriate. Read him your spam. Read it slowly.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.