Spam king Robert Soloway pleads guilty to fraud and tax evasion - could face 26 years in jail

March 14, 2008 Sophos Press Release

Behind bars
Robert Soloway could receive a considerable prison sentence.

IT security and control firm Sophos has welcomed the news that a notorious spammer has pleaded guilty to offences in a US court, and reminded businesses of the importance of securing their email defenses from attack.

28-year old Robert Soloway, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, e-mail fraud (under the CAN-SPAM Act), and failure to file an income tax return. When initially arrested he had faced a total of 40 charges.

Prosecutors claim that Soloway sent more than 90 million emails in three months from just two of the many servers he used around the world. Investigators claim that he made in more than four years over $1 million by sending out many millions of junk emails.

Soloway also admitted to offering clients a service capable of sending 80 million emails on their behalf.

"It's unlikely that Joe Public is likely to notice any drop in the level of spam in their inbox tomorrow morning. However, anything which sends a clear message to the computer underground that spamming will not be tolerated has to be good news for all internet users," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "We need more convictions of hackers and spammers in order to deter others from following in the footsteps of people like Soloway."

Sophos experts countries around the world to work more closely together to fight the global problem of junk email.

"Spammers put a lot of effort into hiding their tracks on the internet, but we are seeing more and more arrests. Earlier this year Sophos reported on a man being arrested in Tokyo after allegedly sending 2.2 billion junk emails. This was the first time that a suspected spammer has been arrested in Japan," explained Cluley. "We need to see more countries around the world taking firm action against those who abuse the internet, to really begin to make a dent on the problem. We also need consumers to stop buying goods advertised via spam messages."

Soloway is due to be sentenced on 20 June 2008. He could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years for fraud, five years for e-mail fraud and one year for not filing an income tax return.

Late last year, a Sophos survey revealed that 11 percent of computer users admit to having purchased goods sold via spam.

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses from the threats of spam, spyware, hackers and viruses.