U.S. Files Criminal Charges Over Spam

Rhett Pardon
DETROIT – The Federal Trade Commission plans to announce Thursday the first criminal prosecutions under the government's new "can spam" legislation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office told XBiz Wednesday that four Internet entrepreneurs – Daniel J. Lin, James J. Lin, Mark M. Sadek and Christopher Chung – have been accused of disguising their identities in millions of email sales pitches for weight-loss products and delivering emails by bouncing messages through unprotected relay computers on the web.

The four, all from the Detroit area, have been charged with federal crimes after U.S. Postal Service investigators received more than 10,000 complaints about unwanted solicitations sent by the company.

Chung and Sadiek appeared in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Wednesday and were released on unsecured bonds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The Lins have not been arrested.

Federal investigators said the company sold a weight-loss patch under the corporate names Phoenix Avatar, AIT Herbal, Avatar Nutrition and others.

The "can spam" legislation requires unsolicited emails to include a device so recipients can indicate they do not want future mass mailings. The federal law went into effect Jan. 1.