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Spitzer Settles a Spammer Lawsuit

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NEW YORK An alleged spammer must pay $50,000 in penalties and costs to the State of New York as a part of a settlement reached in a 8-month-old lawsuit, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office said yesterday.

The lawsuit, filed by the attorney general last December, accused Scott Richter and his company, OptInRealBig.com, of sending unsolicited e-mails containing deceptive subject lines and falsified headers and routing information. The legal complaint, which also named Richter's agent and the marketer that hired him as defendants, alleged that the messages were routed illegally through a worldwide network of more than 500 vulnerable computers.

In addition to the monetary fines, the defendants must retain and provide the attorney general detailed customer information and purchase records under the settlement. The terms also call for the defendants to retain and provide copies of all ads they send, all complaints they receive and the names of all agents and employees. They are also prohibited from using false identifying information when registering domain names, and from deceptively routing e-mails through IP addresses that are not their own.

"This settlement holds Richter and his company to a new standard of accountability in their delivery of e-mails," Spitzer said in a statement. "If he does not fulfill these standards, he will find himself back in court."

The lawsuit was a result of a probe into millions of e-mails sent over the course of a month to Hotmail accounts that had been set up specifically to investigate spammers.

The case against Synergy6, Justin Champion, Delta Seven Communications, Paul Boes and Denny Cole, each of whom was named in the complaint for directing or assisting in the illegal activities at issue, will proceed. A parallel action for injunctive relief and additional monetary damages brought by Microsoft, owner of Hotmail, in the State of Washington continues.