That’s the question federal authorities are asking Internet surfers after arresting the owner of Newport Internet Marketing Corp., who has been accused of using networks of compromised zombie computers to send out perhaps billions of spam emails.
A federal grand jury last week returned a 35-count indictment against Robert Alan Soloway, charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud, email fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.
Prosecutors also are seeking to have him forfeit $773,000 they say he made from Newport Internet Marketing.
Soloway, who had been featured on a list of known spammers kept by the Spamhaus Project, advertised his company’s ability to send out as many as 20 million pieces of spam over 15 days for $495, the indictment said.
Prosecutors said Soloway continued his activities even after Microsoft won a $7 million civil judgment against him in 2005 and the operator of a small Internet service provider in Oklahoma won a $10 million judgment.
Soloway pleaded not guilty Wednesday to all charges after a judge determined that he could pay for his own lawyer, despite the seizure of four bank accounts.
If convicted of all the charges, he faces a fine of $250,000 and a maximum prison term of 65 years.