EarthLink Inc. filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against 100 people, mostly in Alabama and Canada, blaming them for millions of unwanted commercial e-mail messages, otherwise known as spam.
EarthLink, the third-largest Internet service provider, accuses the Alabama individuals of using stolen credit cards, identity theft and banking fraud to fund Internet accounts and send out more than 250 million pieces of junk e-mail.
They went undetected for about six months by creating an elaborate chain of bogus names, false addresses and nonexistent companies, according to the lawsuit.
Earthlink says it suffered roughly $5 million in damages from the Alabama ring alone. The filing of the lawsuits, which currently name only "Doe" defendants, will enable Earthlink to issue subpoeanas to discover the individuals' true identities, the AP report here.