Alleged Domain Name Renewal Scammer Indicted

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There’s an article in today’s Salt Lake Tribune about an indictment against a person who allegedly created companies that allegedly tricked businesses and individuals into paying around $1.8 million for “phony renewal services” for domain names.

The Acting US Attorney in Utah sent out a press release announcing the news that a 24 count mail fraud and money laundering indictment was issued for Ronald Robert Scott of Draper, Utah. The mail fraud charges carry potential penalties of up to 20 years in jail each, and the money laundering charges potentially carry penalties of up to 10 years in jail for each charge. The indictment also seeks a return of $1,864.484.51.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune article,

The indictment alleges that Scott created two fictitious entities, DomainNameUSA.net and Netsolutions.net, and obtained mailing lists of entities throughout the nation and their domain names.

He then allegedly created invoices telling the registrants that their domain name was about to expire and asking for renewal fees ranging from $25 to $199 for periods of one to five years.

I have received plenty of official-looking letters in the mail regarding domain name renewals, but since I know my domain registrars very well, I have always thrown these letters in the trash.

From what I’ve seen in Google (searching for domain name renewal scam, there are a number of companies that send similar letters in the mail. Andrew has an article about one, PC World discusses an email-based domain renewal scam, and even CatholicWeb.com has information about something that sounds similar.

Keep in mind, as the press release further notes, “an indictment is not a finding of guilt. Defendants charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.

15 COMMENTS

  1. I have also recieved tons of those letters in the past. But what I don’t understand is what the crime actually is? Not that I support this behavior or scam in any way, however, there was always a disclosure which said something to the extent of “your domain is not currently registered with us.”

    Were the domains actually renewed when you paid? Or was it really just a straight up scam and he just simply pocketed the money and did nothing to renew your domain?

  2. @ Andrew

    I have no idea…. I have thrown out all the letters I’ve received, and the indictment didn’t have details about what wasn’t legal.

  3. The crime is the dope didn’t register the domains after collecting the money. Had he done that one simple thing he just would have been another slickster on the internet. He got greedy. BTW, he’s dead now. He killed himself.

    • It would be nice to think of his family when writing this stuff. What he may or may not have done is not their doing. And how do you know that he killed himself? that was kept private and out of the papers.

  4. Have you ever lost someone to suicide? I hope not! So shut your big mouth about things you don’t even understand. That said, it is easy to yell and scream about things you have probably been dumb enough to do, ie, getting a letter in the mail, not reading it, and sending a check. Maybe instead of joining in the mob mentality, it would be more constructive to say, educate your dumb ass so that you don’t fall for things like this. But nope, jerks like you prefer to say, poor me, I was a victim instead of admitting the truth which is that you were dumb and got taken!

  5. I knew him personally.
    He has a little boy the same age as my daughter.
    He was a very nice and funny guy.
    Yes he got carried away with his scheme.
    But how it ended is very sad.
    Especially for his family and baby boy who would be about 6 years old by now.

    • I think he was from Florida but Im not sure.
      My relationship with Ron Scott was mostly business.
      I lost contact with him when he started being investigated for mail fraud in 2010.
      I recently did some research on him to find this article with a comment stating that he had committed suicide.
      I did some further research to find an obituary of a Ronald Robert Scott
      Born Oct 23rd 1964- died July 23 2011.
      He lived in Draper Utah. other then that there’s not much information on him.
      This is pretty much all I know.

    • Kim. I think I knew your brother. He was a kind and caring person. That’s how I remember him anyway. Did he live in palm harbor, FL?

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