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FTC Shuts Down, Freezes Assets of Vast International Spam E-Mail Network

October 14th 2008 in Uncategorized

Quote:

“A U.S. district court has ordered a halt to the operations of a vast international spam network that peddled prescription drugs and bogus male-enhancement products. The network has been identified as the largest “spam gang” in the world by the anti-spam organization Spamhaus. The Federal Trade Commission has received more than three million complaints about spam messages connected to this operation, and estimates that it may be responsible for sending billions of illegal spam messages. At the request of the FTC, the court has issued a temporary injunction prohibiting defendants from spamming and making false product claims, and has frozen the defendants’ assets to preserve them for consumer redress pending trial. Authorities in New Zealand also have taken legal action, working in tandem with the FTC.”

and

“The defendants include two individuals – Lance Atkinson, a New Zealand citizen living in Australia, and Jody Smith of Texas – and four companies they control: Inet Ventures Pty Ltd., Tango Pay Inc., Click Fusion Inc., and TwoBucks Trading Limited. The FTC’s complaint alleges that both Atkinson and Smith are liable for the spamming. It holds Lance Atkinson responsible for all product claims, and Smith liable for claims made for the pharmaceutical products. In June 2005, the FTC obtained a $2.2 million judgment against Atkinson and another business partner for running a similar spam affiliate program that marketed herbal products.”

News release:
http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/10/herbalkings.shtm

Temporary restraining order:
http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0723085/081014atkinsontro.pdf

Memorandum Supporting Plaintiff’s ex parte Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order with Asset Freeze, Other Equitable Relief, and Order to Show Cause Why a Preliminary Injunction Should not Issue (a *very* interesting read):
http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0723085/081014atkinsonmemo.pdf

Quote: 

“Affking product purchases can be traced to three merchant accounts controlled by banks in Cyprus and the Republic of Georgia. Records from Visa reveal that the accounts are processing, on average, roughly $500,000 per month. Because the sites also acceptMasterCard, product sales are likely much higher.”

Snippet: Tango Pay received $3.3 million between September 2007 and May 2008 from Cyprus bank accounts.

Health dangers:

“13 The FDA lab findings are consistent with testing done on VPXL by other countries. Health officials in both Denmark and Canada have issued public warnings about VPXL being adulterated with prescription erectile dysfunction drugs on their Web sites. 14 In particular, taking nitrates (which are found in many medicines used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease) together with erectile dysfunction drugs can lower blood pressure to an unsafe level, causing individuals to get faint or even have a heart attack or stroke.”

Complaint for Injunctive and Other Equitable Relief:
http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0723085/081014atkinsoncmpt.pdf


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