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Texan Spam Mailer Gets Shut Out

The State of Texas and Microsoft Corp. have pulled the curtain down on Ryan Samuel Pitylak, a 24-year-old University of Texas graduate, who was once one of the world's worst purveyors of spam. Pitylak was sued by the Texas Attorney General and Microsoft in January 2005 for violating the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

Pitylak was unmasked in July 2004 by an investigation done by the Chicago Tribune. During this time, Pitylak and his friend ran a company called PayPerAction LLC and is said to have send a whopping 25 million e-mails every day to mail users around the world. This fiendish record catapulted Pitylak to number four on the world’s worst spammer list released by Spamhaus Project, a London-based international organization that tracks spammers.

The Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, was supported by a spam vigilante named Dewey Coffman, who catches and sorts thousands of unsolicited e-mails each day, during the case.

"Through collaborative efforts like these," said Abbott, "we can more effectively fight the vast public menace of spam."

Pitylak's forwarded e-mails that promoted low-cost mortgages, extended auto warranties and debt-counseling services and he was offered $3 to $7 for every lead he generated when someone clicked on the links in his messages. The revenue generated by this spammer from his spamming operation, which he started when he was 20, is still not known but he has been told to forfeit most of his illicit earnings. The Court also ordered him to pay a fine of at least $1 million. He is selling his Austin house, which is priced a hefty sum of $430,000, and a 2005 BMW luxury sedan to help pay the fines and legal bills he incurred during the course of the trial.

During an interview, he insisted that his junk-mail days are over and nowadays he is offering his expertise to Internet companies to help them fight against spam. He is also planning to set off on two new consulting ventures that will promote anti-spam techniques and advice young entrepreneurs on how to start up business.

According to Bijoy Goswami, founder of a group whom Pitylak offers his service, "He was what I would call a dark side bootstrapper," he added  "But he said he had learned a lot from the process of being sued and why he shouldn't be doing things that way, so I said, 'Great, let's work together.' He has turned a new leaf and become the anti-spam guy."

It is not clear whether Pitylak has given up on his old habits.

Related article: Tucson Man Sentenced 5 Years Imprisonment for Online ID Fraud

» SPAMfighter News - 6/3/2006

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