‘Godfather of Spam’ Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

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Alan Ralsky, the self-proclaimed ‘Godfather of Spam’, has been jailed after being convicted of committing wire and mail fraud.
Alan M. Ralsky, the self-proclaimed “Godfather of Spam” who pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges in June, was sentenced Tuesday to 51 months in prison, the Department of Justice said.
Ralsky, 64, allegedly was the mastermind of an e-mail spamming network that gained the attention of authorities and Microsoft in 2004. He and his associate Scott Bradley, 48, were convicted of conspiring to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and to violate the CAN-SPAM Act; and for committing wire fraud, engaging in money laundering, and violating the CAN-SPAM Act.
They also were given five years of supervised release after prison and ordered to forfeit $250,000 that the federal government seized in 2007. Both men are from West Bloomfield, Mich.
Two additional associates – How Wai John Hui, 54, a resident of Hong Kong and Canada; and John S. Bown, 45, of Fresno, Calif. – were sentenced Tuesday.
“Through this conspiracy Ralsky and the others were able to manipulate the stock market and maximize their profit,” Andrew G. Arena, special agent in charge for the FBI, said in a DOJ news release. “They flooded our e-mail boxes with unwanted spam e-mail and attempted to use a botnet to hijack our computers assist them in the scheme.”
From the DOJ release:
According to court documents, from January 2004 through September 2005, Ralsky, Bradley, Judy Devenow, Bown, William Neil, James Bragg, James Fite, Hui, Francis Tribble and others allegedly engaged in a related set of conspiracies designed to use spam e-mails to manipulate thinly traded stocks and profit by trading in those stocks once their share prices increased after recipients of the spam e-mails traded in the stocks being promoted. …
According to court documents, many of the spam e-mails promoted thinly traded “pink sheet” stocks for U.S. companies owned and controlled by individuals in Hong Kong and China. The spam e-mails contained materially false and misleading information or omissions and were created and sent using software programs that made it difficult to trace them back to the conspirators. According to the indictment, the conspirators used wire communications, the U.S. mail and common carriers to perpetrate their frauds. The conspirators also engaged in money laundering involving millions of dollars generated by their manipulative stock trading.
Microsoft, for its part, was elated to the point of posting on its Microsoft on the Issues blog. Tim Cranton, associate general council, congratulated the prosecution for successfully putting Ralsky, Bradly, Hui and Bown behind bars.
“Yesterday’s sentencing is a significant success and sends a clear message that the courts take this type of illegal conduct seriously,” Cranton wrote. “Thanks to the diligent efforts of law enforcement and prosecutors, even the most successful and sophisticated spammers may find themselves behind bars for a very long time.”
As with most criminal cases, Microsoft turned evidence over to the DOJ to assist with the investigation, Cranton said.

Alan Ralsky, the self-proclaimed ‘Godfather of Spam’

Alan M. Ralsky, the self-proclaimed “Godfather of Spam” who pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges in June, was sentenced Tuesday to 51 months in prison, the Department of Justice said.

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Judge Wipes Out Couple’s Mortgage Because of Bank’s ‘Repulsive’ Behavior

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Greg Horoski and his wife Diane no longer have a mortgage to pay

A New York judge was so angry with a bank’s “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive” behaviour towards a financially struggling couple that he wiped out their $525,000 mortgage.
In an unusual legal decision that may cheer ordinary homeowners but dismay lenders, Judge Jeffrey Spinner took a tough line on a California-based bank that he considered had been determined to foreclose on the couple’s home in Suffolk County, Long Island.
His ruling against OneWest and its IndyMac mortgage division has relieved Greg Horoski and his wife, Diane Yano-Horoski, of the $291,000 they owed on the original loan as well as $235,000 in interest.
OneWest took $814 million in federal bailout money but has a reputation for foreclosing quickly on property owners who falls into arrears.
The Horoskis bought their house 15 years ago but they refinanced in 2004, taking a sub-prime loan from Deutsche Bank.
The interest rate soared to more than 12 per cent and the bank sued the couple in 2005, when Mr Horoski and his wife began having trouble making payments because of his health problems.
A foreclosure on the 3,400 sq ft bungalow was approved but the couple applied successfully for it to be settled in court.
The judge attacked the bank for repeatedly refusing to work out a deal, for misleading him about the sums in the case and for its treatment of the couple.
He wrote that OneWest’s conduct was “inequitable, unconscionable, vexatious and opprobrious”, cancelling the debt to deter it from “imposing further mortifying abuse” against the couple.
OneWest, which is owned by a private equity group, said it expected to overturn the “unprecedented” ruling on appeal.
Mr Horoski, a porcelain doll seller, told the New York Post : “I think the judge felt it was almost a personal vendetta. It was like dealing with organised crime.”

A New York judge was so angry with a bank’s “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive” behavior towards a financially struggling couple that he wiped out their $525,000 mortgage.

Continue reading… “Judge Wipes Out Couple’s Mortgage Because of Bank’s ‘Repulsive’ Behavior”

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