A Weblog About Topics and Issues Discussed in the Book Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams

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March 29, 2006

Supermax lockup for spammer Rizler

The big house coverFormer employees and business associates of Minnesota spam king Christopher William Smith ("Rizler") can breathe a little easier. Authorities confirmed today that Smith, 26, has been moved to a super-maximum security prison, following his indictment last week for allegedly trying to take out a hit on a witness in his federal case.

rizler.jpg Smith (shown here in an undated drivers license photo) is now locked up at the Oak Park Heights (OPH) facility in Stillwater, one of a handful of super maximum ("supermax") security prisons in the USA.

OPH houses "some of America's most dangerous prisoners," according to the publisher of a 2004 book, The Big House, which describes life inside the OPH correctional facility.

Authorities said Smith is likely to remain at OPH until his trial, which is scheduled for October. A number of former employees and business associates are expected to testify against Smith, who is accused of running an illegal online pharmacy.

Although Smith is now under the same roof as violent, "worst of the worse" offenders, authorities said he is unlikely to have any dealings with them. OPH was designed to minimize prisoner contact with other humans, including prison staff. Inmates at OPH are reportedly only allowed out of their cells for one hour per day, unless they agree to participate in a job or education program.

Following Smith's attempt at witness tampering during his earlier stay at the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River, authorities at Oak Park Heights aren't taking any chances. A note in his prison file warns guards to be wary and states that Smith is "sophisticated," especially regarding medications.

Cell at OPH Prison life may already be taking a toll on Rizler, who's been jailed since August, 2005. According to sources in Minneapolis, Smith earned the nickname "Crybaby" as a result of some emotional moments while at Sherburne County Jail.

Smith's assignment to the big house is tinged with irony, according to insiders who say Smith ran Xpress Pharmacy Direct, his illegal drug business in Burnsville, almost as if it were a prison. Employees were required to pass through metal detectors on their way in and out of the building, and were prohibited from using cell phones while in the office. Surveillance cameras kept an eye on employees in the building's hallways. At one point, Smith even discussed installing cell-phone jamming technology to prevent unauthorized employee communications.

Besides an extended stay in prison, Smith is also facing a large financial judgment from America Online. Last January, Smith was ordered to pay AOL $5.6 million for spamming its members in 2003.

Smith's incarceration at a supermax prison is the latest example of harsh legal repercussions against spammers. In April 2005, Jeremy Jaynes was sentenced to nine years in prison. The conviction is currently under appeal. This past January, a court ordered an obscure spammer to pay $11.2 billion in damages to a small Iowa ISP.

Posted by brian at March 29, 2006 9:02 PM


Great story! Congratulations!

Posted by: Francisco Moreira at March 30, 2006 2:31 PM

Moved to a Max Security because he was too stupid to know that jail phones were tapped...Hmmmm.....


*Takes deep breath*


Posted by: Some Dude at March 30, 2006 6:13 PM

I don't think he is that dumb. Based on his previous glory as a "cry baby" in jail, I think he has done that with the intention to be moved to a maximum securiy prison - minimal contact with other inmates means minimal risk that he gets exposed to all the "niceties" of being in jail. Maybe he prefers solitary confinement rather than being raped?

Posted by: Tom at April 2, 2006 7:28 AM

Maybe he was tired of all the unsolicited male.

Posted by: SomeGuy at April 2, 2006 1:10 PM

I think SomeDude and SomeGuy have to be the same persoon, and that Dude set himself (Guy) up. Either way, "unsolicited male" is too funny. Great comments.

Posted by: SomeBody at April 3, 2006 8:37 PM

Some how this guy has to make out. He possesses genuine compassion, he just got extremely carried away in cyberspace @all that money @ ar- rogance blinded him. Like deamons. Maybe he has no control. A normal person wouldn't do this crap. Brains of kids with high I.Q.s mature slowly@ Chris had a lot of issues while he was growing up. Found refuge @ riches in cyberspace but lacks common sense @ wis-dom cuz he went to- tally cyber so young. Also, schools don't deal well with geni- uses. They side with thd majority of the students @ their parents who are so jeal-ous of his brains @ money that they make trouble. They are stupid to average minded people, including the teachers. Rizler was discriminated a- gainst because of hisbrains. The parents of the kids who beat him up can go to hell. Preists are being penalized for their past, and so should some school personnel.

Posted by: karen at April 4, 2006 3:52 AM

Sorry Somebody, I'm not the same person as Someguy.

Karen - I understand you're trying to help the guy but there's no excuse, bad parents, poor role models, etc. Chris is 25, old enough to know better. Old enough to know that you don't disobey a judge's order to flee the country when you're charged with ILLEGALLY sending advertisements for ILLEGAL pharmacy that you don't have a prescription for. Chris also tried to funnel funds out of the country while mocking the justice system and taunting Spamhaus that he'll never be brought to justice.

Now in justice he pulls a dumb act of attempting to kill a potential witness...what's genious about that??? Chris is a complete fool and has the typical spammer's mentality - a dumbass who thinks that everyone else is just as stupid, bad childhood is an excuse, next time he cries about his childhood, remind him of kids who had it twice as bad but accomplished twice as much.

Want to feel compassion - feel it for the innocent domain owners who had to clean up his mess because he dragged their site through the mud, feel compassion for the innocent persons (Men, women, kids) that had his crap dumped into their inbox on a daily basis. He never showed any compassion for these people, nor his employees, why should we care about him?

Posted by: at April 4, 2006 6:04 PM

I understand that he reeked global havoc. His latest indictmentsmay have resulted from a cry 4 help. I don't know him, @ am nottrying 2 make up excuses 4 him. He deserves a good legal kick inthe butt. Society often makes it's criminals. Chris isn't whining about the kids that beat him up every other day at school: those 20 something yearolds from the Cities Proudly boast about having done that 2 him. Chris likely repressed those memories, but dealt with his alienation in cyberspace. Like other rejected kids/young adults, he got into drugs-cyber drugs @ big time sales. His older 'Buddies were/are enablers. With drugs OR big money, U ALWAYS have 2 watchUr back. That's why he had metal detectors at work. That maybe why he's in the bighouse-he's safe. If I met Chris, I'd probly not like him cuz he'd do something dumb like pull up at my house in a lime green Lambordini (ha ha, Feds, U didn't get THAT one) Then I'd slap his arrogant face @ knock thatcrap out of him-he'd be a nice man @ a happy man. Try a Buick.

Posted by: karen at April 6, 2006 3:15 AM

maximum security jail for a spammer?
that demonstrates that cybercrimes are
national security offenses, maybe the guy
wanted to kill some witness or maybe the Big Brother wants to make an example out of him. I was locked up for three years in a maximun security jail in my country, Colombia,
just for suspicions about a hacking issue, and boys, being in jail is not funny at all, I was in a maximun security jail designed by the US federal boreau of prisons, Thank you so much uncle Sam!!.
you don`t understand, pursuing cybercrime is
not about public rights, is about POWER, so being smart above the average and crossing the line may cost you everything you have, so please be obedient, don't rise your heads, and keep spending your american taxes in maximun security jails for us, poor "tercermundistas". Hey Karen interesting and smart posts.
I suggest George Orwell's "1984"

Posted by: DigitalDaemon at April 20, 2006 6:21 PM

Has anyone been to the ATT Callcenter or any major callcenter, for that matter, no cell phones, security cameras, metal detectors (to avoid PDA's and cell phones from being brought in). This is to protect customer credit card information. Read up aboaut ISO 9001 Certification.

Posted by: Cc consult at April 27, 2006 10:35 AM

I have worked for a few call center operations at different levels. They ALL should have at LEAST the security Rizler provided. General telemarketing and debt collection buisinesses need to be more strongly policed. They breach manyrules & regulations.

Posted by: karen at May 11, 2006 2:17 AM


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