Now they'll never move out of mom's basement
of spammers has been ordered to pay a $15.15 million fine following a lengthy investigation by the FTC.
Investigators concluded the gang, known as HerbalKing, sent out
billions of spam e-mails marketing weight-loss pills and prescription
drugs. Their activities were described as deceptive marketing, as they
sold generic versions of US-branded drugs, which were in fact imported
from India and didn't really undergo proper testing in the States. So,
if you ordered some stuff from them and now have six hairy breasts
growing on your back, you should probably see a doctor or at least ask
for a refund.
Atkinson's American sidekick Jody Smith and three companies affiliated
with him have also been found liable for $4 million. Smith's assets
have been frozen and he faces a jail term of up to five years after
pleading guilty to 'conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods'. He will be sentenced later this month.
Atkinson, however, seems to have gotten off quite a bit better. He will
have to pay his part of the $15.15 million fine, but only if he travels
to the US, and we're guessing he won't. Ever. Atkinson was fined $2.2
million in 2005 for similar offenses. He failed to pay that fine, too.
Atkinson's brother Shane was ordered by a New Zealand court to pay
$112,000, so we can probably blame bad parenting for their shenanigans.