The Spamhaus Project


Herbalking ringleader gets US$15 million fine

by The Spamhaus TeamNovember 30, 20092 minutes reading time

The Herbalking aftermath continues with a US federal judge ordering ringleader Lance Atkinson to pay the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a hefty US$15.5 million (£9.4 million). After already admitting his involvement to the New Zealand authorities last year now the FTC steps in with its findings:

*The spam gang deceptively marketed products such as male-enhancement pills, prescription drugs, and weight-loss pills. Ringleader Lance Atkinson, a New Zealand citizen and Australian resident, last December admitted his involvement in the spam network to New Zealand authorities and has already paid more than $80,000 (nearly $108,000 New Zealand dollars). Atkinson's accomplice, U.S. resident Jody Smith, agreed to an order requiring him to turn over nearly all of his assets to the FTC, to settle FTC charges.

Atkinson and Smith recruited spammers from around the world, according to the FTC's complaint filed last year. The spammers sent billions of e-mail messages directing consumers to Web sites operated by an affiliate program called 'Affking', according to the complaint. By using false header information to hide the origin of the messages, and by failing to provide an opt-out link or list a physical postal address, the defendants are alleged to have violated the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.*

Spamhaus would like to congratulate everyone involved in this case. We hope that serious fines like these help protect email users and stem the spam epidemic all over the world from spammers such as Atkinson and Smith.