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Alleged spammer settles with Massachusetts

DC Enterprises will pony up $25,000, marking resolution of the first state case under the federal Can-Spam Act.

DC Enterprises has agreed to settle a spam-related case with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office, marking a resolution of the first state case under the federal Can-Spam Act, state regulators announced Monday.

DC Enterprises and its principal owner, William Carson of Florida, agreed to pay $25,000 and halt further violations of the Can-Spam Act, as well as Massachusetts mortgage broker laws and advertising laws.

Carson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Under the case, filed in June, Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly alleged that DC Enterprises and Carson sent thousands of unsolicited commercial e-mails touting low-interest mortgages. But the bulk e-mails allegedly failed to provide a working "opt out" provision that would have allowed recipients to prevent future e-mails, did not clearly identify the notices as advertisements and used a nonfunctioning return address--all of which violate provisions of the Can-Spam Act and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.

"These messages are the type of unwanted and annoying solicitations that have become the scourge of Internet users and threaten the credibility of companies using e-mail for legitimate purposes," Reilly said in a statement.

Customers who attempted to click on the opt-out link at the bottom of the e-mails found that it failed to work, and letters sent to DC Enterprises' Massachusetts business address did not receive a response, the lawsuit had alleged. The e-mails also asked for personal and financial information.

The settlement with DC Enterprises comes 10 months after the Can-Spam Act went into effect on Jan. 1. Other cases include a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in April, which was the first case under the new antispam act.

Despite the Can-Spam Act, the proliferation of bulk e-mail has continued to soar, and in a growing number of cases, spam includes features designed to dupe the recepient into providing personal and financial information that could be used by the sender to commit financial crimes.