'Spam King' Faces Up to 20 Years

An unusually long two-day sentencing hearing for Robert Alan Soloway, 28, was scheduled to begin Friday in Federal court.


Soloway is the second person to be convicted of criminal spamming under the 2004 CAN-SPAM law, and pleaded guilty in March to single counts of mail and e-mail fraud and tax evasion.


The plea was entered 10 days before his trial was to begin on 37 more counts, including multiple counts of those crimes as well as wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.


In the government's sentencing memorandum filed Monday, Soloway is infamous "worldwide for the volume and markedly malicious nature of his criminal spamming activity; the fraudulent 'spam promotion' sales scheme associated with it; and for brazen and even boastful claims that he is above the law and anyone -- even federal judges -- who would dare attempt to seek his compliance with it."


U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman is expected to sentence Soloway after lengthy testimony on Monday form a laundry list of people.


The charges Soloway faces carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and more than $500,000 in fines.


Prosecutors Kathryn Warma and Richard Cohen are calling for Soloway to do nine years in prison and pay a steep fine between $400,000 to $1 million.


Soloway's attorney, Seattle lawyer Richard Troberman, responded with a recommendation of two years in prison at the Federal Prison Camp in Sheridan, Ore., and a less severe fine, under $100,000.


David Comings, a recognized expert on Tourette's Syndrome, first diagnosed Soloway with the condition back in 1988 and said in a letter to the court that "genetic impulse disorders, Tourette's Syndrome and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have contributed to his (uninhibited) behavior and affected his judgment."


According to court documents, Soloway commenced his "broadcast e-mail" business in California back in 1997, and fell under suspicion from police agencies after a myriad of spamming complaints.