Lance Atkinson, the New Zealander identified by the United States Federal Trade Commission as the ring leader of an international spam network, has been ordered to pay $US15.15 million ($NZ21million) by a US federal judge.
Atkinson, who now lives in Queensland, admitted his part in the spamming operation which proffered male-enhancement pills, prescription drugs and weight-loss pills, and paid a financial penalty of $NZ100,000 plus costs of almost $NZ8000. The FTC took separate action against him but not his brother Shane and Christchurch courier Roland Smits who just last month were ordered to pay $100,000 and $50,000 respectively for their parts in the operation.
In addition to the $US15.15 million that Atkinson and his company, Inet Ventures Pty Ltd, have been ordered to pay, the three companies affiliated with Smith are liable for $US3.77 million. Smith is awaiting sentence on a criminal charge of conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods and faces up to five years in prison.Lance Atkinson’s American accomplice in the network, US resident Jody Smith, has had to turn over nearly all his assets to the FTC. He will pay approximately $US212,000 and will also assign any rights he has to $US91,000 frozen in the name of one of his co-defendants, and $US547,000 that may be held for his benefit in an Israeli bank.