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Originally published May 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 28, 2007 at 4:12 PM

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Spammer once sued by Microsoft is arrested in Seattle

A notorious spammer once sued by Microsoft was arrested in Seattle this morning, a week after a federal grand jury indicted him under seal...

Seattle Times staff reporter

A notorious spammer once sued by Microsoft was arrested in Seattle this morning, a week after a federal grand jury indicted him under seal for allegedly illegal — and prolific — spamming.

Robert Alan Soloway, 27, is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in U.S. District Court on 35 counts of mail and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering and fraud in connection with electronic mail. The indictment was unsealed after Soloway's arrest just before 8 a.m.

Soloway is accused of, among other things, defrauding customers who paid him to send out high-volume commercial e-mail messages or who bought his software to send the spam themselves. For $495, customers reportedly could have Soloway send e-mails to 20 million addresses for 15 days or sell them 80,000 e-mail addresses.

According to the indictment, the software sometimes did not work and Soloway's "broadcast e-mails" were sent with false headers to mask the sender's identity and used a proxy server to camouflage the originating computer.

"He was a huge producer of spam," said Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle.

In 2005, Microsoft won a judgment against Soloway for spamming. Soloway's company, Newport Internet Marketing, allegedly sent e-mails that appeared to have come from MSN and Hotmail addresses, both of which are owned by Microsoft.

Also that year, an Oklahoma businessman won a $10 million default judgment against Soloway in a claim he violated the federal CAN-SPAM Act and Oklahoma's anti-spam laws.

Authorities say Soloway moved from Oregon to Seattle in November 2003 and has been living in an apartment on Western Avenue.

Soloway is reputed to be one of the world's ranking spammers. Brian S. McWilliams, author of the book "Spam Kings," puts him in the international top dirty dozen.

Kyung Song: 206-464-2423 or ksong@seattletimes.com

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