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Top 10 spammers in internet history

But who's King of the Spam Kings?

We look at the world's ten biggest 'spam kings' to see who deserves the title of King of Kings.

Christopher William Smith

Alias: Rizler
Current Status: Serving 30 years in prision

As proprietor of the Xpress online pharmacy in Burnsville, Minnesota, the 28-year-old Smith built up a fortune estimated at $24m (£13.9m) by selling prescription drugs illegally across the net. When FBI agents raided Smith's home in May 2005, they found a Lamborghini in the driveway and cereal boxes stuffed with more than $1m (£580,000) in cash. But they didn't find Smith - he was already on the lam in the Dominican Republic. When he returned a few weeks later, he was arrested at the airport.

In November 2006, a federal jury convicted Smith on nine counts of drug running, wire fraud, money laundering, and racketeering. In a separate case, AOL sued Smith for sending billions of spam emails and won a judgement of $5.3m (£3.1m). But what earned Smith that 30-year stretch was even more special: While awaiting trial in March 2006, Smith was caught on tape ordering a hit on a witness's children from a jail-house phone.

Spam Royalty Rank: Prince of Pills

Alan Ralsky

Aliases: Sam Smith, William Window, Victor Allan
Current Status: Under indictment

Whoever says crime doesn't pay hasn't seen Alan Ralsky's house. Despite a felony conviction for bank fraud in 1995, the 63-year-old has never done time. Instead, he lives in a palatial estate in West Bloomfield, Michigan, thanks to millions he's made from pumping out more than 70 million commercial email messages a day.

When photos and the address of Ralsky's 8000-square-foot home were posted online in 2002, ticked-off Netizens signed him up for hundreds of catalogues and mailers, flooding Ralsky's home with junk mail. When his phone number was posted - but with one digit incorrect - a neighbour was flooded with venom-filled calls. The neighbor called the 63-year-old spammer "one of the most hated people on the internet".

After the FBI raided his home in 2005 and confiscated all of his equipment, Ralsky began employing botnets for spamming. In January 2008, Ralsky was indicted along with 10 others by a federal grand jury on 41 counts of spamming and stock fraud. According to the DOJ, the case is still in discovery mode. He may yet trade his big house for the Big House.

Spam Royalty Rank: Marquis of Michigan

NEXT PAGE: Our Kings of Spammers

  1. But whose King of the Kings?
  2. Edward Davidson and Bill Waggoner
  3. Even more spam kings
  4. Christopher William Smith and Alan Ralsky
  5. Our Kings of Spammers


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