Washington State Duo Settle Spam Charges

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Matthew Olson and Jennifer LeRoy have agreed to a $45,000 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission involving violations of the CAN-SPAM Act. The FTC allegations stem from the sending of e-mails that peddled mortgages and devices claiming to improve gas mileage.


The $45,000 settlement against the Washington state duo will be suspended due to their inability to pay, the FTC said. It will be reinstated if they are found to have misrepresented their financial status.


The FTC lawsuit against Olson and LeRoy followed its 2005 crackdown on "button pushers." "Button pushers" send unwanted e-mail and conceal where their messages originate.


Such obfuscations are prohibited under the CAN-SPAM Act. The Act requires that commercial e-mails contain accurate "from" and "subject" information line. Messages also must provide an "opt-out" option, a physical address and be clearly marked as an advertisement, the FTC said.


The two are accused of sending SPAM on behalf of mortgage company Opt In Global and another company that sells fuel devices, said Joe Lipinsky, a lawyer for the FTC.


Olson and LeRoy were paid a commission by the companies, the FTC said.


If either of them violate the CAN-SPAM Act in the future they could face criminal charges, Lipinsky said.


The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle entered the order against Olson and LeRoy on March 27. The order is for settlement purposes only and is not an admission of a legal violation.


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