The Spamhaus Project


Spammer Arrests herald FTC Crackdown on Illegal Spamming

by The Spamhaus TeamApril 29, 20043 minutes reading time

For many months the Spamhaus team have been working with teams from Law Enforcement Agencies in the United States and United Kingdom helping put together cases against the known spammers. We are very pleased to see arrests of spammers by the FTC now taking place, and look forward to the many more arrests we know are on the way over the next few months.

Phoenix Avatar LLC, brothers Daniel and James Lin (closely connected with Detroit Spam King Alan Ralsky), Mark Sadek and Chris Chung, intentionally sent spam through proxies, with fake Return-Path addresses, believing themselves to be too smart to get caught.

Almost all cases in progress involve spammers spamming through compromised proxies, all of whom believe themselves to be untraceable operating "offshore". It is exactly the offshore aspect that makes them targets and which provides the evidence necessary to convict them. The majority of illegal proxy spam is sent by known US-based spammers through computers which have been deliberately infected with viruses by Russian spam gangs, whom in turn sell lists of "freshly infected proxies" to the US-based spammers. Spammers purchasing lists of "fresh proxies" and sending spam through them hoping to hide the origin are committing criminal acts in numerous countries and are the spammers the law enforcement agencies have been concentrating on since the introduction of the CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S in January.

With the introduction of the CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S. spam soared to new heights as spammers already spamming via illegal proxies simply moved "offshore" and continued using proxies, while other spammers realized that CAN-SPAM actually made spamming legal as long as they followed certain rules, such as not using proxies. Instead of being stopped by CAN-SPAM, large professional spammers such as Scott Richter actually invested in even more spamming hardware, now sending far more spam than ever, all now "legally" under U.S. law thanks to CAN-SPAM. Although CAN-SPAM cannot touch Richter and many of the large spammers, and only encourages them to spam more, the few useful provisions in CAN-SPAM which ban the sending of spam through proxies or with fraudulent Return-Paths and Received lines are now having a good effect on the "offshore" spammers determined to keep spamming illegally, as the warrants for arrest of Daniel Lin, James Lin and the other spammers announced today show, and on which Spamhaus heartily congratulates the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Postal Service.