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New York authorities Monday settled a lawsuit filed against an electronic mail marketer for allegedly sending unsolicited and deceptive “spam” messages on behalf of clients. New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said the marketer, Scott Richter, and his company, OptInRealBig.com, paid $40,000 in penalties and $10,000 in investigative costs under the agreement. The company also agreed to provide Spitzer’s office with customer information and all advertisements it sends as well as promising to use proper identifying information when registering domain names. “This settlement holds Richter and his company to a new standard of accountability in their delivery of e-mails,” Spitzer said. “If he does not fulfill these standards, he will find himself back in court, facing greater penalties.” When Spitzer filed the civil suit against Richter, OptInRealBig.com and some of the company’s clients and other individuals in December 2003, the attorney general said he was seeking $20 million in penalties. Steve Richter, father and lawyer of Scott Richter, said Monday the settlement basically involved a “no harm, no foul” situation from Richter’s standpoint. The fact the attorney general settled for $50,000 while initially talking about $20 million in damages “speaks for itself,” Steve Richter said. Spitzer spokesman Brad Maione said neither Scott Richter nor OptInRealBig.com admitted any wrongdoing in the settlement. When announcing his suit, Spitzer said special Hotmail e-mail accounts set up by his investigators found thousands of e-mails in May and June 2003 that carried bogus “from” and “subject” lines, often indicating the messages were part of ongoing conversations instead of being unsolicited commercial lures. A lawsuit Microsoft Corp. filed against Richter in Washington state was not affected by New York’s settlement. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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