America Online has announced that is holding a sweepstakes in which the company is giving away ill-gotten wealth seized from a spammer when he was tracked down in March of 2004.

In the sweepstakes which AOL members and visitors to AOL.com can enter between now and the 19th, the company is giving away nearly $100,000 in gold bars and cash and a fully-loaded 2003 Hummer H2 containing a truck full of books and movies from AOL-Time Warner companies. In addition to the sweepstakes, the company plans to donate tens of thousands of dollars worth of high-end computer equipment seized from the spammer to local public schools in Northern Virginia.

The New Hampshire spammer sent "millions" unsolicited e-mail messages for such products as ephedra, male enhancement pills and other dubious products using a network of 40 computers. According to AOL, the spammer generated over 100,000 complaints from the service provider's users in a single day in January 2004.

In addition to the Hummer and the gold seized from the spammer, AOL also received a $13 million judgment against the remaining members of the spam gang, the company said.

The lawsuit is AOL's first under the CAN SPAM Act of 2003.

Members have used the 'Report Spam' button to help AOL anti-spam detectives investigate and snare one of the country's most prolific spam gangs, the company said in a statement.

Also recently, Microsoft announced it had obtained a $7 million settlement in another spamming case and will use $5 million of the settlement for Internet safety and security initiatives.