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Henry Perez

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Country: United States
State: Arizona
Massive mortgage spammer. Has been spamming for years.


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MEDIA: Spam suit nets $1 billion


"AMP Dollar Savings Inc., an Arizona corporation" - Front for Henry Perez and others.

_________

Spam suit nets $1 billion

By Todd Ruger

and Kay Luna

CLINTON, Iowa  A federal judge awarded a Clinton Internet service provider more than $1 billion in judgments Friday in a lawsuit against companies who used his equipment to send so-called spam e-mails.

It is believed to be by far the largest judgment ever against companies accused of sending unsolicited commercial e-mail via the Internet, said those who track such practices.

Its definitely a victory for all of us that open up our e-mail and find lewd and malicious and fraudulent e-mail in our boxes every day, said Robert Kramer, the owner of CIS Internet Services in Clinton.

Kramer is unlikely to ever collect the large judgment, which was made possible through an Iowa law that allows plaintiffs to claim damages of $10 per spam message, said his attorney, Kelly O. Wallace of Atlanta.

We hope to recover at least his costs, Wallace said of the lawsuit, originally filed in October 2003 against 300 defendants then known only as John Does. He decided it was worthwhile to take some of these guys down.

Kramers relatively small service provided e-mail for about 5,000 subscribers in the Clinton vicinity when, at one point, his Internet server received 10 million or more spam e-mails per day, according to Kramer and the judgment documents.

He was called away almost daily to repair downed e-mail servers that should run months without interruption, Kramer added.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Wolle of the Southern District of Iowa filed the default judgments Friday against three companies under the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and the Iowa Ongoing Criminal Conduct Act:

n $360 million against Cash Link Systems Inc., a Florida corporation shut down by the Securities and Exchange Commission in July for a fraudulent investment scheme involving automatic teller machines.

n $720 million against AMP Dollar Savings Inc., an Arizona corporation that Wallace said is mainly a organization designed for spammers to hide their identities.

n $140,000 against TEI Marketing Group Inc., a Florida corporation. Wallace described TEI as one guy selling spy software.

Wallace said he has only heard of judgments up to $25 million in spam-related cases.

The president of the SpamCon Foundation, an organization based in Palo Alto, Calif., said it was the biggest judgment in a spam lawsuit she has ever heard about.

This is just incredible, Laura Atkins said. Im not aware of anything thats been over $100 million.

Steve Linford, the chief executive officer of a London-based spam tracker called The Spamhaus Project, also said he had not heard of a judgment reaching $1 billion, adding that such lawsuits and criminal investigations into spamming are starting to have an effect.

But the effect is still rather small, he said. What we are seeing is slightly more spammers from overseas.

While it used to be that 100 percent of spammers operated in the United States, about 10 percent of them now operate in other countries, including Russia and some Asian nations, with 70 percent of spam messages directing users to Web sites hosted in China, he said.

Kramer said the lawsuit made a difference for his business almost immediately after it was filed, but not before 4 years of taking a toll on him at both the business and personal levels.

I was forced to set up an infrastructure that would support e-mail for millions of users, he said. It has consumed me.

Fridays judgment covers only three companies who did not respond to court papers and were found in default. The lawsuit continues against other named defendants.

Its a slow process and its not cheap, Wallace said. Our goal is the economic death penalty.

He and Kramer said they began identifying the companies by doing what the spammers wanted  purchasing spy software and other products typically hawked via the e-mails, including penis enlargement pills.

Ive got a bottle of them sitting here, Kramer said. I never opened them.

Wallace said he presented about 1,400 pieces of evidence at a hearing to determine the amount of damages, including selections from thousands of CD-ROMs full of computer usage log files showing that large numbers of spam e-mail were not atypical.

Kramers problems are linked to a CD-ROM sold to spammers that is called Bulk Mailing 4 Dummies, which includes a guide for sending spam and a large number of mainly fictitious e-mail addresses for some of the largest Internet providers in the nation, the judgment states.

While most of the addresses were for large providers such as America Online, Microsoft Network, Hotmail and Earthlink, CIS somehow had 2.8 million addresses entered on the CD-ROM, Wallace said.

Receiving e-mail at those bogus addresses uses as much computer resources as legitimate e-mail, the judgment states.

My dad put it well when he said I was being terrorized, and I was, Kramer said. Its been a hassle to catch these people because of the method they use.

Nothing will stop spam altogether, he said.

I think all of us as Internet service providers are always going to face spam problems, he said. We are still pursuing others. Were going to catch more.

The company, operating since 1996, has four full-time employees. Two are network administrators.

In response to the spam congestion, CIS beefed up its core infrastructure, spending thousands of dollars to upgrade the system so it could handle the traffic flow.

Kramer now calls himself a spam professional.

We know how to handle this better than any other ISP (Internet service provider) in Clinton, he said. We can virtually eliminate spam coming to your mailbox.

Todd Ruger can be contacted at (563) 383-2493 or truger@qctimes.com.

BY THE NUMBERS

For the two larger parts of

the anti-spam judgment he entered Friday, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Wolle used a formula based on trial testimony and Iowa and federal laws. This is how the judgment was calculated for Clinton Internet Services against AMP Dollar Services Inc.:

AMP Dollar messages,

per server per day 40,000

CIS mail servers X 3

Messages per day 120,000

Number of days X 150

Total e-mails sent 18 million

Statutory damages

per message X $10

Total statutory

damages $180 million

Federal, state laws

triple statutory damages X 3

New damage total $540 million

Punitive damages + $180 million

Total liability

of AMP Dollar $720 million


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