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FTC Fines Emailer $350K In Settlement Of Affordable Care Act Spam Suit
A sender Spamhaus lists as the #2 worst spammer in the world gets slapped by the Federal Trade Commission.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a settlement with what it calls “one of the world’s reputedly biggest spammers,” over a suit accusing him of deceiving email recipients about false deadlines related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. The deal calls for Yair Shalev and his company, Kobeni Inc., which are based in Hollywood, Florida, to pay $350,000 in fines, though the defendants haven’t admitted or denied guilt in the case.
The FTC suit stems from emails sent to consumers during the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, which warned them that they would be in violation of the law if they didn’t click immediately to enroll in an insurance plan. The messages offered them links that led to websites that displayed advertisements for insurance companies. The agency said the insurance companies weren’t involved in or aware of the scam, but the proprietors of the web sites receiving the traffic paid Shalev and Kobeni.
Here are two examples of text cited by the FTC:
The defendants were charged in January with violating the FTC Act by spreading deceptive information about legal deadlines, and with violating the CAN-SPAM Act by failing to allow recipients to opt-out, as well as for failing to include a valid postal address in their emails.
Yair Shalev and Kobeni Inc., apparently known as Kobeni Solutions, are well-known in anti-spam circles, appearing as number 2 on a list of the world’s worst spammers maintained by the Spamhaus Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO).
On the site, he’s described as a “high volume snowshoe spammer from Florida, (former?) partner-in-spam of ROKSO spammer Darrin Wohl. Son-in-law of ROKSO listed spammer Dan Abramovich.”
The “snowshoe” spam method involves spreading out messaging over a wide variety of IP addresses and domain names, so as to avoid block lists and reputation systems. ROKSO associates Shalev and Kobeni with more than 100 IP addresses and a similar number of domain names, which are currently on the Spamhaus block list.
It’s not clear how the $350K number was reached, but the original lawsuit sought “restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten monies, and other equitable relief.”