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A Nevada-based company accused of sending out millions of unsolicited e-mails touting mortgage deals has been ordered to pay $11.6 million to Atlanta-based EarthLink Inc. The total came from U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr.’s Aug. 31 order awarding treble damages arising from a 2004 case filed by the Internet service provider against a company called KSTM LLC. Whether EarthLink is able to recover anything is another matter; KSTM never answered the complaint, and no defense counsel ever appeared in court. A search of the Nevada Secretary of State’s Web site showed no such company listed. There were originally 25 defendants, some of whom were accused of spamming and “spoofing”�using a phony e-mail return address to hide the true origins of unwanted messages�to market online pharmacies, loan offers and mortgages. By the time the case went to trial, most of those cases had settled and the balance of the John Doe defendants had been dismissed from the case, EarthLink, Inc. v. John Does 1-25, No. 1:04-CV-3142-TCB (N.D. Aug. 31). EarthLink claimed KSTM violated federal CAN-SPAM Act strictures against using “false or misleading transmission information” in its messages directing recipients to a Web site offering mortgage deals, and with violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Batten’s order granted $3.8 million in damages, which were trebled, as well as $3,855 in attorneys’ fees and $776 in “lost profits and damage to reputation.” “We’re going to do everything allowed by law to recover that judgment,” said Larry Slovensky, EarthLink’s assistant general counsel. Declining to go into any detail, he noted that “we do have information that some of these people have assets.” In the last 10 years, EarthLink has been awarded more than $200 million in suits against spammers, with two going to jail, said Slovensky. He declined to say how much of that sum has actually been collected. EarthLink’s outside counsel in the case included Paul F. “Pete” Wellborn III and Jamie P. Woodard of Atlanta’s Wellborn & Wallace.

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