Spam Godfather Sentenced 4 Years, Plus $250k Fine

Dennis Faas's picture

The reputed "Godfather of Spam", 64-year-old Bloomfield, Michigan man Alan Ralsky, has been sentenced to four years behind bars by a U.S. District Judge in the Motor City. Ralsky and his co-conspirators were found guilty of leading an email stock scheme and money laundering operations.

Ralsky, a West Bloomfield resident, was convicted alongside his son-in-law, 48-year-old Scott Bradley. Both designed an elaborate spamming operation that took aim at high-value targets: those in involved in the stock market. The pair were able to use spam to help inflate stock prices and in turn profited once they traded in those same stocks. This is often referred to as a "pump and dump" scheme. (Source:

Spam Godfather Faces Prison, Probation, $250K Fine

Ralsky will receive a stiff penalty for his "white collar" crime. In addition to the four years in prison, he'll also receive five additional years of closely supervised probation. In the meantime, he's expected to pay a hefty $250,000 fine for several violations of the CAN-SPAM Act, including mail fraud and wire fraud.

His son-in-law received just over three years in prison and a similar probation schedule for wire fraud and for participating in money laundering. They were both joined in the conviction by conspirators How Wai John Hui of Canada and Hong Kong and John Brown of Fresno, California. They received 51 months and 32 months in prison, respectively.

Sentences Send "Powerful Message to Spammers"

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer believes the conviction and the sentence will help deter other potential spammers from using email attacks. "Today's sentencing sends a powerful message to spammers whose goal is to manipulate financial transactions and the stock market through illegal email advertisements," said Breuer. "People who use fraudulent emails to drive up stock prices and reap illicit profits will be prosecuted, and they will face significant prison time." (Source:

Ralsky earned his reputation as the "Godfather of Spam" primarily because his scheme was not only profitable, but complex, international, and highly professional. He and other members of the spam ring used a number of forms of communication, including the U.S. postal service and email to carry out their scheme while also using their profits for money laundering operations. The fraudsters tricked email recipients into purchasing their fake stocks by ripping off legitimate email headers and using proxy servers that disguised their base of operations.

Five more participants in the spam ring will receive their sentences on Wednesday.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet