Monday, August 06, 2007

Online Justice: Slow and Incomplete

Last week the online media went nuts over the sentencing of Christopher William Smith, known to anti-spam researchers as "Rizler". I'd like to stand at the front of the line in congratulating Assistant US Attorney Nicole Engisch and US District Judge Michael Davis for sticking it to Rizler with a THIRTY YEAR SENTENCE!

Rizler has been spamming an enormous volume for a long time. The 211-page complaint against Rizler by AOL documented over 1.1 BILLION emails that Rizler had sent -- just to AOL subscribers!

Rizler was arrested in a raid on May 10th, 2005, in which his 85-employee company, Xpress Pharmacy Direct, was shut down and in which $4.2 Million in assets, including $1.8 Million in luxury automobiles was seized. Skipping bail to the Dominican Republic, it was only a matter of weeks before Rizler had restarted his spamming operations. His websites, such as,,,, and, claimed to operate legally by having a real doctor read answers to your online profile questions, and prescribe your medications from his office in New Jersey. Rizler paid Dr. Philip Mach $7 per prescription for these services. . .more than 20,000 times in one four month period!

Spamhaus's Steve Linford told's Will Sturgeon back at that time, "Rizler was way up in our Top Ten". ( The Spam Report, 06JUL05)

Good story, right?

Well . . . how is that Rizler is charged with operating a "continuing criminal enterprise" and "conspiracy", but there don't seem to be any co-conspirators?

Bernadette Hollis, who was in charge of acquiring the Hydrocodone for the online pharmacies, and who Smith confided in with his desire to kill one of the prosecutions chief witnesses, walks away with one year of probation and forty hours of community service.

Alton Scott Poe, was described as being an innocent office manager, who was brought in to instill good business practices. Apparently the judge bought this story, or perhaps nobody ever heard of the Online University that Poe ran? The Lawsuit against Alton Scott Poe and his brother lays out their online scheme for selling diplomas for between $300 and $500, complete with an imaginary transcript showing what grades you received in what classes! Innocent Office Manager? He'll do 6 months for assisting in the sale of millions of dollars of illegal drugs. I wonder what scheme he'll launch in six months and one day?

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Trying a new setting. After turning on comments, I got about 20-30 comments per day that were all link spam. Sorry to require login, but the spam was too much.