A notorious spammer who made millions of dollars selling medications online has been sent to jail. Twenty-seven year-old Christopher Smith, who used the nickname "Rizler," was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Prosecutors had argued for a stiff sentence after Smith made a death threat against a witness's children.
In May 2005, federal authorities raided Smith's home and his company Xpress Pharmacy, seizing his passport and $4.2 million in assets, including a $1.1 million house and luxury vehicles worth $1.8 million. At the same time the FBI closed down his 85-employee company. Investigators concluded that Smith had been selling medicines to customers without proper prescriptions and selling drugs without a license. Smith appeared in a federal court after the raid, but four days later fled to the Dominican Republic.
Smith was eventually arrested at Minneapolis St Paul International airport after stepping off a flight from the Caribbean.
"If anyone is in any doubt about the riches that criminal spammers can make for themselves, then they should read the story of Christopher 'Rizler' Smith," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Pharmacy spammers are amongst the lowest of the low when it comes to Internet crime -- not only deluging people with millions of unwanted e-mails, but also potentially putting lives at risk through dangerous medications. The authorities should be applauded for finally bringing this spam king to justice."