The Department of Justice emerged victorious on Tuesday in a case against Alan M. Ralsky, the self-titled Godfather of Spam. The 64 year-old Ralsky was sentenced to jail time as well as substantial fines for computer fraud in southern California and elsewhere.
The DOJ had argued that Ralsky — in conjunction with a ring of associates — violated the CAN SPAM Act and engaged in money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud, and illegal use of emails and computer networks. Court documents said that his spammer ring worked for about a year and a half (from 2004 to mid 2005) to artificially jack up the prices of certain stocks by sending out bulk spam emails to people. After the stock prices went up, other individuals in the white collar crime syndicate traded on those stocks. Collectively, they thus managed to rake in millions of dollars in illegal gains.
The spammers used sophisticated software to avoid detection and conducted their operations not only here in the United States but also in China and Hong Kong.
Microsoft, in particular, seemed delighted by the news of the conviction of these white collar criminals. A company spokesman remarked: “Yesterday’s sentencing is a significant success and sends a clear message that the courts take this type of illegal conduct seriously.”
As a good white collar criminal defense attorney in Southern California might note, Penal Code sections 502(c) and 530.5(e) respectively cover computer access and fraud and mail fraud. Of course, with intricate computer fraud cases like this one, the issues of law can get quite complex. For instance, to prepare for the Ralsky matter, prosecutors no doubt had to consider not just applicable federal and state laws but also international laws.
Putting together a strategic battle plan for a fraud case can get incredibly technical. Both sides must assemble complicated cause-and-affect arguments. The prosecution, for its part, has to identify the mechanisms by which the alleged fraud acts were committed — no small task, particularly when you’re dealing with sophisticated spammers and computer gurus. The defense doesn’t have it easy either. In order to combat charges of computer fraud, the defense must aptly challenge the logic of the prosecution’s arguments and cite relevant laws and cases.
If you or a family member or friend has been charged with a white collar crime, like computer fraud in Los Angeles, you may want to speak with veteran criminal defense Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers. Attorney Kraut has impressive intellectual firepower — he is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He also has lots of experience “in the trenches” — he served for years as Deputy District Attorney for the City of Los Angeles prior to representing white collar defendants. He has a knack for anticipating and deftly deflating prosecutorial arguments — arguments that often leave even experienced defense attorneys confused and helpless.
With so much on the line — not just for you but also for your family — it makes sense to work with one of Southern California’s most trusted fraud defense attorneys.