TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Attorney General Charlie Crist announced that his office has obtained an important victory in the battle against illegal computer activity, effectively shutting down the operations of two Tampa residents. With a judge’s entry of a consent judgment and permanent injunction, the first case brought under Florida’s 2004 Anti-Spam statute reached a successful conclusion.
The defendants were accused of running a bogus email and internet operation responsible for more than 65,000 illegal emails. The illegal messages linked recipients to more than 75 different websites engaged in fraudulent or illegal business activities, including pharmaceutical and cigarette sales and the illegal downloading of copyrighted movies.
The judgment bars Scott J. Filary and Donald E. Townsend from engaging in any further deceptive email and internet activities that violate Florida’s 2004 anti-spam law, the federal CAN-SPAM Act or Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Filary and Townsend must pay $50,000 to cover the costs of the state’s investigation. They are also subject to a potential $1.1-million penalty if the terms of the injunction are violated, the $50,000 is not paid, or it is found that the financial statements provided were inaccurate.
“Spam is an annoying and sometimes offensive intrusion into the lives of Floridians,” said Crist. “By enforcing the Anti-Spam law that we were proud to propose, Florida will penalize and shut down those responsible for this unwanted and illegal nuisance. This judgment and injunction is an important step in the fight against internet misconduct.”
The Attorney General filed the civil action in April and quickly secured a temporary injunction halting illegal spamming activities and unlawful conduct. The permanent injunction ordered today extends the earlier injunction and prohibits Filary and Townsend from sending or assisting in sending any email messages that have false or misleading headers or subject lines, from registering any web addresses under a false name, or from engaging in other activities designed to mislead recipients about the true nature of the email or website.
Crist expressed his appreciation to Microsoft, which played a critical role in the investigation by providing investigative materials and over 65,000 emails to the Attorney General’s Office for enforcement. The emails link recipients to deceptive websites connected to Filary and Townsend.
The Anti-Spam law was passed in the 2004 legislative session, through the sponsorship of Senator Rudy Garcia and Representative Holly Benson. The law prohibits unsolicited commercial email that contains false or deceptive information in the email subject line, contains a false or misleading email header identifying the origin or path of the email, or uses another person’s internet domain name without permission. The Attorney General’s action in this case alleged violations of each of these prohibited acts.
A copy of the consent judgment and permanent injunction is available