Bail Denied for Alleged 'Spam King'
A man accused of defrauding people through tens
of millions of spam e-mail messages
sent around the world was denied bail
U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue said Robert Soloway, 27, of Seattle,
should remain in jail until his trial scheduled for Aug. 6 because he has minimal
ties to Washington state and has family in Sweden.
"These are allegations of cyber crimes that have no geographical borders,"
Donohue said. "It's just as easy to continue these actions in Sweden as
it is in the United States."
But Soloway's attorney, Richard Troberman, wrote in a court filing that the
government's evidence that Soloway would flee was "woefully short on facts."
Soloway has only traveled out of the country with his parents, Troberman said.
Soloway -- dubbed the "Spam King" by federal investigators -- was
arrested May 30 on 35 charges including mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity
theft and money laundering. Mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering are
punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The government is also seeking $773,000 as proceeds of Soloway's activities.
Federal prosecutors allege that Soloway has sent tens of millions of e-mail
messages since 2003 to advertise his company, which offered software to send
out broadcast e-mails. For $495, customers could have an ad sent to 20 million
e-mail addresses or receive software allowing them to send up to 80 million
The Spamhaus Project, an international anti-spam organization, listed Soloway
as one of about 135 spammers deemed responsible for as much as 80 percent of
all junk e-mail.
Soloway and his company's Web site claimed that the e-mail addresses on his
lists were given by people who agreed to receive messages, and that the product
offered a money-back guarantee.
However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Warma said in court that Soloway told
customers who tried to receive refunds that he would take them to a collection
agency and ruin their credit.
People were also unable to opt-out of Soloway's spam list, costing them time
and money, Warma said. The Santa Barbara County, Calif., Department of Social
Services said it spent $1,000 a week to fight the spam it received, according
to Warma and court documents.
Donohue also said Soloway's previous actions demonstrated an unwillingness
to abide by court orders. Soloway continued his spamming even after Microsoft
Corp. won a $7 million civil judgment against him in 2005 and a small Internet
service provider in Oklahoma won a $10 million judgment, prosecutors said.