back to article $236m judgment lands on mom and pop spam shop

An Arizona couple accused of bombarding a small internet service provider with millions of spam messages has been ordered to pay more than $236m in a federal case that documents the heroic measures one man took against the torrent of unsolicited junk mail. Henry Perez and Suzanne Bartok were ordered to pay the sum late last …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    $236m. Seriously?

    What is wrong with the courts? Are judges retarded now? Or did they just pick the day Dr. Evil was in chambers?

    At least pick a figure that they might remotely have a chance of paying. I bet the poor guy who ran the ISP doesn't see a single cent.

    Paris, because she might be able to bail them out.

  2. James O'Brien

    @$236m. Seriously?

    Personally I think the judge did the right thing. Sending a message to these fucktards who want to spam the hell out of people to make money, good for him. I say ruin the people who intentionally go OUT OF THEIR WAY (ie: hire a broker wasnt it?) to seem legit. Dont blame the people who dont know better about viruses and get their PCs infected hold the people doing the infecting and then using the PCs and ruin them for life. Hope they learn, Wankers

    /flames well.......just cause

  3. Brett Weaver

    In the old days...

    We would sell them into slavery. I reckon it wouldn't be too much of a punishment for people who indulge in these nasty lttle tricks with greed as their only motive.

    Actually... a few board rooms on Wall street could supply some shipboard rowers as well....

    Mines the one with the cat in the pocket...

  4. Henry Wertz Gold badge


    "At least pick a figure that they might remotely have a chance of paying. I bet the poor guy who ran the ISP doesn't see a single cent."

    In this case, this is not the point. The point is essentially to give someone misbehaving this badly a large financial penalty. They spammed, commited perjury (claiming they were not spamming), committed evidence tampering by destroying evidence relevant to their case. If they followed standard spammer procedure, they've probably had a lawyer file every single paper, no matter how irrelevant, to try to make the case too expensive for CIS to want to pursue; probably tried to argue spam is protected by freedom of speech; probably tried sleazy and obviously false arguments about how what they were doing technically wasn't spamming; and now, probably will be as we speak frantically moving all property to friends, maybe some new shell companies, etc. Not saying they ARE doing this, but practically every other spammer in the US that has been convicted (very few), this is what has happened with virtually all of them.

    Someone could say Spamford Wallace was also a mom & pop -- he was literally one guy -- but clearly he doesn't fit the typical meaning of a "mom & pop". For that matter, the ISP is "mom & pop" too.. 5,000 subscribers in eastern iowa and western illinois (note: chicago's in eastern illinois, so this is all pretty rural).


    OK, after I wrote that ---^ I googled CIS. "Spammer lands $11 billion fine - The INQUIRER" dated 2006/01/05 (don't know if that's Jan 5th or 1 May), the ietf has "[Asrg] [OT?] CIS Systems wins $1.08 billion in case against spammers Jun 1, 2005". Pretty ridiculous. BUT, in every case (this is the 10th...) the settlement calculates what was sent *to his 5000 subscriber ISP* at $10 a spam, so the amounts of spam are also pretty ridiculous. 23 million spams? Some spammers will try dictionary attacking the mail system to try to find people to spam..,,, etc. ad nauseum... which could certainly add up. I certainly don't hope he'll get this much cash but he really should be compensated for having to put in extra hours and spend extra cash on mail servers just to filter out additional spam, compensated for legal time (the spamming happened in 2003.. the spammers have delayed things for 5 years?), and a cherry on top for damages.

  5. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Bring back Debtor's Prison

    Or the workhouse!

    I'm sure we could set these miscreant spammers to good civil use!

    On half rations on just Spam of course.

    Please Sir, I don't want anymore....

  6. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    "I bet the poor guy who ran the ISP doesn't see a single cent"

    Much as I'm sure he'd love the money, I reckon he'll settle for the 10-15 million spam reduction he's already got, and hopes it will lead to more when the word gets round that spamming his domain runs expensive.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Henry and James

    I agree with you both that the ruling is a good one. My point was that the person who should be receiving the damages won't get a penny, and also what good will such a large financial penalty do? (I'm guessing) there's no way the spammers have $236m laying down the back of their sofas. I'm guessing they don't even have $2m laying down the back of their sofas. My point is that it doesn't matter to the spammer whether the ruling was $2m or $236m.

    Give them a bit of jail time, that'll do more good than an astronomic settlement that will never get paid.

  8. Joe K

    "Bulk Mailing 4 Dummies"

    Hah ha! What an aptly named program.

    They don't sound like master criminals, more like they fell for some "earn thousands from your home computer" spam themselves and wouldn't know what the hell an ISP even is.

    That headline figure is a good move, even if it will never get paid, but the whole thing is a sorry state of affairs.

    Its the advertisers who should pay, you can't just play dumb there, you should know how your business is being represented. If you advertise through spamming scumbags you should get financially ruined too.

  9. Elmer Phud
    Thumb Up

    Money, money, money

    I'd have thought that going for the costs incurred to deal with the spam - more servers, comms, time spent setting stuff up and managing the situation -- would be better. Show that there is a cost and it's not just a case of hitting delete. Punitive costs are just a good sounding sum of money that will never be paid. Then, if they'd any dosh left, take it all and give it to charidy.

  10. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    What does a large unpaid fine mean long term?

    I get the idea they are not going to be able to set up a business in a while. Not until they can come up with something their banks will be assured of. Something that will return million is short order enough to cover running costs and cover the fine out of the profits?

    Not cool with low finance so this higher stuff completely passes me by.

    Can someone explain in words of more than tree letters but less than three syllables?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Not just money, how a 293 year JAIL sentence ???

    If the perpetrator cannot pass money, go to jail. Forever, if necessary.

    Once a spammer, always a spammer -- spammers should not be allowed to return to spamming. Ever.

  12. Christopher Woods

    There might be other ways to pay this fine...

    Say a finger is worth approx. $29.5 million... That works out quite nicely. "Which would you like to keep sir, your ring fingers or your thumbs?"

    Mine's the one with the blunt hacksaw in it

  13. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    What about the people they were advertising for?

    I think the people they were advertising for should cop the same penalty! Anybody who signs up for an ad campaign knows exactly the method of distribution of there campaign. So its bollocks for them to claim "oh we didnt know they were going to use spam to advertise our product".

    When the companies that are advertised by spam start copping the same penalties as the people sending the spam, then maybe we'll see a reduction in spam but until then...

  14. Scott

    @Henry and James

    I'm guessing they don't even have $2m laying down the back of their sofas. My point is that it doesn't matter to the spammer whether the ruling was $2m or $236m<<<

    Okay, so they have associates they sell spam leads to. Enter a judgment against those associates also, at 1/10 the judgment amount. If you want to discourage people from using spammers then make punitive judgments up their food chain.

    There is no punishment in the current system to encourage sales-sleazes to consider how their leads are generated.

  15. Ed
    Thumb Down

    I call BS.

    "By 2003, CIS was receiving 500 million spams every day, forcing Kramer to spend 60 hours per week tending to the spam problem."

    I call BS on that figure. 500 million emails per day? 3.5 billion spams per week? No. I don't think so.

  16. Bounty


    Why not just make the judgement for 2,377,278,737,761,255,515,264,836,636,356? Then they'd really feel sorry. Or..... just like the 236,000,000, they'll just go, damn... don't have it. You'll have to garnish my wages as I work at McDonalds. And we'll never see it. As for the companies that used them as advertisers, you'd have to prove they knew they were doing something ileagal first. They would have to know that these guys were going to SPAM, not just advertise by say buying addresses from an opt-in newsletter or something.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ What about the people they were advertising for?

    You'll have to come up with pretty good evidence before the companies that use such marketing methods get it in the neck.

    First you have to prove they indeed contracted those spammers, secondly that method and content were agreed with them instead just an email to replicate to a "select group". Fat chance.

    And that's not entirely a bad thing. If it was possible to go after their clients I'd happily sponsor a spam campaign in the name of one political party which has been in power for *way* too long..

    As for punishment, how about having to delete all those messages, but with nothing more than an underpowered PC running Windows ME, an IMAP client and a 1200 baud dialup modem? Could take a few years, I think.

    Paris, 'coz she doesn't need that crap.

  18. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Paris Hilton

    spam cost me thousands

    i charge $1 each for recieving spam into my domain.

    only collected once

    nice to see a lawyer get on the case.

    Paris just cause its me.

  19. The Voice of Reason


    1/2 billion spam every DAY, & only 5000 customers. Doesn't sound right. Please check your figures.

    If figures correct : OMFG!!!

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