Thursday, January 03, 2008

Ralsky: Going Down

***IMPORTANT UPDATE*** January 11, 2008!
Today Alan Ralsky was taken into custody - arrested after arriving from Germany and taken into custody.

Congratulations to First Assistant US Attorney Terrence Berg and his colleagues in Detroit for being willing to prosecute one of the top spammers, as revealed in a 41-count indictment unveiled today in Detroit!

According to the January 3, 2008 announcement by the US Department of Justice today, Scott Bradley and Judy Devenow were in court after being arrested today to hear the charges. John Hui was arrested in New York on January 2nd. The other defendants are at large and being sought. (Hint: You might check the Dominican Republic? Oh wait. Wrong spammer. That was Rizler.)

The full list of defendents is given below:

Alan M. Ralsky, 52, of West Bloomfield, Michigan

Scott K. Bradley, 46, of West Bloomfield, Michigan

Judy M. Devenow, 55, of Lansing, Michigan

John S. Bown, 47, of Poway, California

William C. Neil, 45, of Fresno, California

Anki K. Neil, 36, of Fresno, California

James E. Bragg, 39, of Queen Creek, Arizona

James E. Fite, 34, of Whittier, California

Peter Severa, age unknown, of Russia

How Wai John Hui, 49, of Vancouver, Canada and Hong Kong

Francis A. Tribble, of Los Angeles, California

Ralsky, who has his own Wikipedia page became one of the most famous spammers after an interview with the Detroit News in 2002. Pictures of his ill-gotten mansion are available at

The FBI raided Ralsky's home in 2005, and apparently today's indictments are the conclusion of that investigation, which DOJ says is now three years old!

While a total pricetag may never be placed on all of Ralsky's illegal profits, DOJ says he earned $3 Million just in the summer of 2005!

Ralsky has long been on the excellent Spamhaus Registry of Known Spam Offenders and was featured in the book "Spam Kings". Brian McWilliams, the author of Spam Kings, called Ralsky "the most successful spammer" in this Tech Soup Interview in 2004. Partly because he was still in business after the successful 2001 Verizon lawsuit against him. Three years later and he's still spamming!

Joel Kurth did an excellent profile on Ralsky in August of 2002 for the Detroit News, where Ralsky admits to maintaining a 150 million email address mailing list (though he points out there were 87 million email addresses that he does NOT send spam to because they unsubscribed.)

I wonder how many millions more people he's offended since 2002?

Congratulations again, Detroit, CCIPS, and thanks to the FBI, Postal Inspectors, and IRS Agents who assisted in bringing this to indictment.

Now if they can just get the other 8 co-defendants into custody . . .

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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.