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Mintz Secures Favorable Resolution for Client in CAN-SPAM Act Case

Industry: Technology

Key Facts

  • We represented our client, Mark Manoogian, in a criminal case alleging conspiracy, wire fraud and electronic mail fraud.
  • This charge of electronic mail fraud was the first-ever case indicted and prosecuted under the CAN-SPAM Act.
  • The Mintz team jumped in to defend our client against these allegations and prepare the case for jury trial.
  • We reached a favorable resolution for our client, which avoided the initial 10-count felony indictment, restitution and the potential for multiple years in federal prison.

The Situation

Our client, Mr. Manoogian, was the former manager of a global digital advertising firm and one of four defendants charged in a ten-count federal indictment brought by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of California. The charges included conspiracy, wire fraud, and electronic mail fraud. The electronic mail fraud charge was the first-ever case indicted and prosecuted under the CAN-SPAM Act.

The indictment followed a nearly nine-year investigation by the FBI, DOJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. The indictment alleged that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain and use blocks of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that were registered to others claiming they had been authorized by the registrants to use the net blocks in order to send commercial email on behalf of the company.

The government alleged that the defendants knowingly purchased stolen IP addresses, fabricated letters of authorization (LOA) giving them the authority to use the IP addresses, and then presented these fraudulent LOAs to internet hosting companies in order to facilitate the sending of large volumes of commercial marketing emails.

The Approach

Mintz jumped in to undertake representation of Mr. Manoogian, employing decades of trial and oral advocacy experience. Our team worked over the course of three years to craft an aggressive trial strategy that involved expansive discovery, witness prep and intense motion practice. The case was particularly challenging given the novelty of the CAN-SPAM Act indictment, which up until that point had not successfully been brought in a federal case.

The Outcome

After jury selection and opening statements, our attorneys negotiated a resolution with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the result of which was very different from the 10-count felony indictment and the potential exposure of multiple years in federal prison that our client faced. Ultimately, Mr. Manoogian was able to avoid jail time altogether and pay out a comparably minimal fine.

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