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Notorious spammer Christopher 'Rizler' Smith smacked down, again

January 26, 2006

Spam King Christopher William Smith, aka Rizler, 25, was ordered to pay $5.3 million, or $25,000 for every day he sent spam e-mails, plus $287,059 for America Online's legal fees, U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton in Alexandria, Va., ruled.

Hilton issued a summary judgment in favor of Dulles-based AOL after Smith "refused to participate in this case, willfully disregarding ... discovery obligations and failing to comply with multiple court orders," according to the judge's order.

Court records show that Smith's lawyers withdrew from the case several months after it was filed.

America Online, a unit of Time Warner Inc., first sued Christopher Smith in 2003 under Virginia law, and then again in 2005 to take advantage of the federal Can-Spam act. Smith sent 1.13 billion spams to AOL members over a six-month period at the start of 2003

Chris Smith is in jail awaiting an October trial in Minneapolis on federal charges that he operated an illegal online pharmacy in 2004 and 2005. Smith's bail was revoked for violating the terms of his release. U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. Davis had assigned Smith to a halfway house in Minneapolis where he was to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Court papers don't go into the specifics of how Smith violated the release, but on September 21 prosecutors asked the court to issue a warrant for Smith's arrest. The following day, Smith was picked up by the U.S. Marshals Service. Following a hearing a week later, Judge Davis revoked the house arrest and ordered Smith remanded into custody of the U.S. Marshal Service until his trial.

Christopher William Smith, also known as Chris Johnson, Bruce Jonson, Robert Jonson, Dieter W. Doneit-Schmitz, and Eric Smith, had amassed so much wealth from his pharmacy business that he could afford houses in Prior Lake and Burnsville and keep a fleet of luxury automobiles (2006 Mercedes Benz S65, 2004 Lamborghini Murciélago, 2005 Mercedes Benz C55A, 2001 Ferrari, 2001 BMW M5 Sedan, 2004 Mercedes Maybach, 2005 Jeep Wrangler, 2004 Cadillac DeVille Limousine, 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe, 2001 Hummer H1, etc.) according to court documents.

Smith, a high school dropout, was an internationally known e-mail spammer when he started the drug business. He was being pursued as Rizler, one of the country's top e-mail spammers who filled the inboxes of billions of e-mail accounts with offers for sexually explicit websites, penis enlargement drugs, 'generic Viagra' and online college degrees. In 2002, Time Warner Cable obtained an injunction barring Smith from selling cable television descrambler devices through e-mails, part of a spamming operation that helped earn him a reputation within anti-spamming circles.

The spamming by Smith, who lived in a $1.1 million house until he was arrested, pushed Congress into passing the 2003 CAN-Spam law, designed to cut down on unwanted e-mail.

January 26, 2006 - Rizler's lawyer charged in Internet pharmacy scheme
August 26, 2005 - Rizler pleads not guilty
July 08, 2005 - Spam king Christopher 'Rizler' Smith to be released on $50,000 bail
July 06, 2005 - Spam king defies judge's orders, got caught and goes to jail
May 20, 2005 - Another major spammer smackdown





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