Two California firms who allegedly "blanketed" computers at the Seattle School District and elsewhere in 2004 with junk e-mails have agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements in the state's first lawsuit under the federal anti-spam act. A judgement in the case and the settlements -- including a $180,000 suspended fine -- total more than $4.1 million.
The 2004 lawsuits, brought by Attorney General Rob McKenna, targeted computer seller MD&I and the now-defunct AvTech Direct, both in California.
AvTech's lawyer bowed out of the case late last year, and with no attorney stepping in to take over, the company was hit with a default judgement of $3 million in fines ($2,000 for each of 1,500 junk e-mail messages) plus $375,000 in restitution to the Seattle School District and nearly $68,000 in attorneys fees. AvTech owner Gary Hunziker was also fined $500,000, according to McKenna.
The settlements include:
-AvTech manager Arlene Sediqzad, who agreed to pay $10,000 in attorney's costs.
-MD&I owner Min Hui Zhao also agreed to pay $10,000.
McKenna says AvTech used misleading header and subject lines -- like "Staff Bulletin" -- in spam emails hawking computers.