April 7, 2006 1:26 PM PDT

Feds shut down spam ring for good

In a deal with the Federal Trade Commission and the state of California, the people behind a prolific spam operation have agreed to pay $475,000 and refrain from illegal activity.

The deal, which does not include an admission of any wrongdoing, was reached with Optin Global, Vision Media, Qing Kuang "Rick" Yang and Peonie Pui Ting Chen, the FTC said in a statement Thursday.

The defendants violated federal and state laws by sending millions of junk e-mail messages hawking mortgage loans and other products and services, the FTC charged. Consumers forwarded nearly 2 million of the messages to the agency.

The spam operation netted the defendants $2.4 million, the FTC said. As part of the settlement, they're required to hand over all those gains, but most of the money is gone. So they must pay $385,000 in cash and approximately $90,000 from the sale of property.

However, if it's discovered that the defendants misrepresented their financial situation, the entire $2.4 million will be due, the agency said.

In April 2005, the FTC and the state of California first sued the defendants, alleging that they had used third-party affiliates to send the unwanted commercial e-mail. The messages included links to Web sites operated by the defendants and violated the federal CAN-SPAM Act and California law, the agency charged.

Last year, at the FTC's request, a court ordered a temporary halt to the spamming and froze the defendants' assets. The settlement announced Thursday ends the litigation.

According to the FTC, the spam e-mail contained false or forged header information; included deceptive subject headings; failed to identify e-mail as advertisements or solicitations; failed to notify consumers they had a right to opt out of receiving more e-mail; failed to provide an opt-out mechanism and failed to include a valid physical postal address--all required by law.

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14 comments

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"If" they misrepresented their financial situation?
"However, if it is discovered that the junk mailers misrepresented their financial situation, the entire $2.4 million will be due, the agency said."

Yes, because spammers are so incredibly honest. And I've got a bridge to sell you...
Posted by katamari (310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
if they MISREPRESENTED
I have a bridge to sell them to.
What about their cars, houses and other things.
Posted by (8 comments )
Link Flag
IS THIS WHAT IT TAKES.
2 MILLION EMAILS TO A FEDERAL AGENCY BEFORE THEY TAKE
NOTICE. WOW!

NOW THAT YOU HAVE $475,000 DOLLARS HOW ABOUT DOING
SOMETHING NOVELISTIC WITH IT? HOW ABOUT PUTTING MONEY
USED IN TECHNOLOGY, BACK INTO TECHNOLOGY.

HOW ABOUT YOU TAKE THAT $475,000 THAT YOU DIDN'T HAVE
BEFORE THIS CASE AND BEEF UP YOUR OWN AGENCY. WAIT,
THAT WOULD BE TAKING MONEY USED IN BAD TECHNOLOGY
AND PUTTING IT BACK INTO GOOD TECHNOLOGY.

$475,000 CAN MAKE A MEAN DENT IN REVAMPING THE
GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURE; AND IF YOU THINK IT CAN'T
YOUR GETTING SCREWED BY CONTRACTOR'S THAT ARE RAPING
YOU FOR SUB-PAR COMPUTER PARTS.

YOU EVER HEARD OF DELL. I BET YOU FOR $475,000 I CAN GET
APPROXIMATELY 678.57143 FULLY LOADED DELL COMPUTERS
AT $700 A CRACK. 670 NEW AGENCY COMPUTERS TO HELP
FIGHT AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT, HACKERS, VIRUS WRITERS,
SPAMMERS, AND PHISHERS.

670 COMPUTERS!

~JUSTIN
Posted by OneWithTech (196 comments )
Reply Link Flag
JUSTINE! Cap lock, find it, Turn it off, Please. And . . .
Thank you.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
IF THEY WOULD...
If they would pursue spammers as well as the RIAA is pursuing copyright violators there would be far fewer spammers in business.
Posted by GrandpaN1947 (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
one down, 4 billion to go!
n/t
Posted by Bob Brinkman (556 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good point
except that not only are there 4 billion to go, but the people behind this one have probably been running another million or so themselves, and will simply switch over..
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Link Flag
I can help
If the Feds will post their email address, I will be glad to forward
the many hundreds of thousands messages we filter out each
year. The amount of spam we we receive has been going up
steadily despite passage of the CAN-SPAM law

Fortunately Spamassassin and Spamhaus have allowed us to
keep it under control. Thanks guys.


<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://spamassassin.apache.org" target="_newWindow">http://spamassassin.apache.org</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.spamhaus.org" target="_newWindow">http://www.spamhaus.org</a>
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
FTC spam reporting
Forward your spam to spam@uce.gov (per ftc site)
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Link Flag
spam@uce.gov
Send them about 2 million and you might see some action taken.
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Link Flag
They got a great deal
No jail time, and they keep about $2 million.

Who says crime doesn't pay.
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But remember...
They also had to promise not to break the law. Huh? Isn't that expected of everyone except the President???
Posted by Jimmu411 (51 comments )
Link Flag
and I should be impressed?
Wow, what progress the Feds have made! The've shut down a spam ring for good. I also heard the Chinese governemt has shut down a software pirate as well. We're on a roll now.

How about some more sarcasm? Greenpeace save any whales lately?
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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