Spam on the Run: Notorious Spammer on the Lam
An indictment charges Alan Ralsky with using illegal e-mail to promote Chinese stock pump-and-dump scheme.Infamous spam king Alan M. Ralsky is on the run following the Jan. 3 indictment of Ralsky and 10 others for operating a sophisticated spam scam involving pump-and-dump Chinese stocks. The 41-count indictment, unsealed in a Detroit federal court, claims Ralsky, 52, and his fellow defendants operated a wide-ranging international fraud scheme involving millions of illegal e-mails touting thinly-traded Chinese penny stocks. Ralsky profited by selling the stock at artificially inflated prices. Only two of the defendants appeared in court Jan. 3 for arraignment. Ralsky is reportedly at large in Europe.
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The mail and wire fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
"The flood of illegal spam continues to wreak havoc on the online marketplace and has become a global criminal enterprise," Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said in a statement. "It clogs consumers' e-mail boxes with scams and unwanted messages and imposes significant costs on our society."
Ralsky has long been on the Department of Justice's short list of targeted spammers. After a federal anti-spam lawthe CAN SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Actwas passed in 2004, authorities raided Ralsky's palatial, 8,000-square-foot mansion in suburban Detroit and seized his computers. The DOJ alleges Ralsky sent millions of unsolicited e-mails promoting a wide range of products from sexual enhancement drugs to get-rich-quick schemes.