More Than $5M Awarded in AOL Spam Case

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Christopher William Smith sent literally billions of unsolicited emails through American Online channels during the last several years, touting everything from penis growth to preparatory education, to say nothing of thousands upon thousands of pornographic website advertisements. And it’s going to cost him.

Smith, who AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham calls “the poster child for the Can-Spam Act,” was ordered to pay AOL more than $5.3 million this week as penalty for his actions.

The judgment, which was issued by U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton, orders Smith to pay AOL $5.3 million in damages and $287,000 in legal fees.

In his ruling, Hilton said Smith “refused to participate in this case, willfully disregarding discovery obligations and failing to comply with multiple court orders.”

AOL filed the civil suit in 2003 under the Can-Spam act.

“This is someone we've been pursuing for three years,” Graham said. “It's one of the largest judgments we've received.”

Smith is currently in Minnesota while he awaits trial on criminal charges relating to the alleged operation of an illegal online pharmacy.

The victory for AOL this week is not the first for the Internet behemoth. According to Graham, the company has so far won tens of millions of dollars in spam cases.

Smith’s attorney would not comment on the case but said they plan to appeal the ruling on the grounds that the Can-Span act is unconstitutional.