PRESS RELEASE: "Mirror image" web site leads to a $10,000.00 fine - penalty suspended
The Washington Attorney General’s Office says a Pinole, Calif., man’s mirror-image version of Russell Investments’ site violated the state’s anti-phishing law.
Rommel Balingit was ordered to pay $10,000 civil penalty under an agreement filed in November in Thurston County Superior Court. The penalty is suspended provided he complies with the agreement terms.
Assistant Attorney General Katherine Tassi said that Russell, a global financial services company headquartered in Tacoma, alerted the Attorney General’s Office to a lookalike site that resembled the company’s own site.
“The real Russell did stand up,” Tassi said. “And helped make sure the phony site was shut down.”
An investigation by the Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit led to Balingit.
Balingit claimed he built the Web site as a model to solicit clients to his now-defunct Web site design company, Tassi said.
Balingit Assurance of Discontinuance
The WHOIS details for the domain that triggered the Attorney General's action, russellassets.com, were originally hidden behind the privacy protection service supplied by domainsbyproxy.com. That protection was removed in or around April 2008, and ownership of the domain seems to have been transferred to the Frank Russell Company in or around June of this year after the National Arbitration Forum handed ownership of the domain to Frank Russell Company on 30 May 2008. According to the Forum's Decision, Balingit failed to respond to the Forum's "Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding" or submit a response.