World-Class Spammer Agrees to $7 Million Settlement

Scott Richter and his company OptInRealBig.com of Westminster, Colorado, have agreed to a $7 million dollar settlement with Microsoft for the excessive fraudulent email spam messages Richter’s company sent out.

Attorney General Elliott Spitzer in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan said that "Spam traps" set by Microsoft the previous May and June netted 8,000 messages containing 40,000 fraudulent statements. Richter is one of the top three spammers in the world.

On July 19, Richter and OptInRealBig.com agreed to pay New York State $50,000 in penalties and investigative costs, to provide Spitzer’s office with customer information and all advertisements it sends, and to use proper identifying information when registering Internet domain names.

Microsoft says that, after paying legal expenses, the remainder of the money from the settlement will be reinvested and $5 million will be used to improve Internet safety and $1 million will go to enhance computer access in impoverished community centers in New York State.

The settlement is still dependent on the dismissal of Richter’s bankruptcy petitions in the Denver Bankruptcy Court. It is also contingent upon his compliance with federal and state laws including CAN-SPAM (the federal Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act).

Richter and his company can not send any more spam to those who have not expressed willingness to receive it. In addition Richter must agree to three years of oversight on his operations.

Richter, who did not admit to any wrongdoing in the Microsoft news release, said he had “paid a heavy price” and was “committed” to complying with all anti-spam laws by changing the way he does business.

"In response to Microsoft’s and the New York attorney general’s lawsuits, we made significant changes to OptInRealBig.com’s e-mailing practices and have paid a heavy price," he said. "I am committed to sending e-mail only to those who have requested it and to complying fully with all federal and state anti-spam laws."

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