• United States



by Dave Gradijan

AOL Looks to Strike Spammer’s Gold in Mass.

Aug 16, 20063 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

AOL, Time Warner’s Internet arm, on Tuesday said it will soon dig on the property of the parents of a runaway spammer whom it says buried gold and platinum on the residence’s grounds, in an effort to obtain the $12.8 million the man was ordered to pay to the company by a U.S. District Court in Virginia, the Associated Press reports via the New York Post.

The family of Davis Wolfgang Hawke said their son was not “stupid enough” to hide the valuables on their property in Medfield, Mass.—a suburb of Boston located roughly 20 miles away from the city—and they’ll do everything they can to keep AOL from tearing up their property, according to the AP.

“We don’t know where he is,” Peggy Greenbaum, Hawke’s mother, told the AP. “We certainly wouldn’t allow him to put any gold on our property.”

Last year, a Virginia U.S. District Court judge ordered Hawke to pay damages to the tune of $12.8 million to AOL for his failure to show in court on charges of violating national and state antispam regulations by targeting AOL subscribers with unsolicited messages, the AP reports.

Experts told the AP that Hawke and his partners at one point were bringing in upward of $600,000 a month via spam messages for anything from Web loans to prescription drugs.

Greenbaum said the family was contacted by an AOL attorney who informed them the company would bring in bulldozers and excavation teams to search the property, the AP reports. She also said her father and her husband plan to fight AOL’s attempt to go treasure hunting at their home, according to the AP.

The woman, who claims she hasn’t spoken with her son for more than a year, said she thinks the New Hampshire’s White Mountains are a more likely location for the hidden booty, the AP reports. Greenbaum also noted that Hawke once told her how he’d exchanged spam profits for gold to make it more difficult for courts to seize his wealth, according to the AP.

AOL said it has every right to dig on the property, the AP reports.

“This is a court-directed, judge-approved legal process that is simply aimed at responsibly recovering hidden assets,” said Nicholas Graham, an AOL spokesman, according to the AP.

In order to obtain court approval to dig at Hawke’s parents’ residence, AOL submitted a number of receipts that showed the man bought large amounts of gold and platinum bars in the past, the AP reports.

-Compiled by Al Sacco

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