In addition to the $15.2 million, Australian resident Lance Atkinson, the spam ring's leader, his company, and three companies affiliated with accomplice Jody Smith are liable for nearly $3.8 million. Atkinson has already paid more than $80,000 to New Zealand authorities. Smith has agreed to an order that he turn over nearly all his assets to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC alleges that the messages dishonestly claimed that the drugs came from a U.S.-licensed pharmacy that dispenses U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration-approved generic drugs. The FTC also claims that Atkinson and Smith made bogus claims about the security of consumers' credit card information and other personal data that was provided when consumers bought the goods.
Spammers have had a rough go of it lately. Last month, Alan Ralsky, the self-proclaimed "Godfather of Spam," was sentenced to 51 months in prison for a scheme that used spam to manipulate stock prices to make a profit.