America Online handed over the keys to a Porsche seized from a spammer to a 73-year-old man from Virginia who won the company's give-a-car-away sweepstakes.
Charles Chase, a retiree who lives in Berryville, Va., drove away Thursday in the 2002 Porsche Boxster S Cabriolet two-door convertible, which was confiscated from a spammer as a result of a lawsuit filed by AOL against spammers in April 2003.
Virginia's anti-spam statute, which went into effect on July 1, 2003, gives the state's law enforcement agencies the right to seize spammers' assets, even if the spammer resides outside Virginia. AOL is headquartered in Dulles, Va., just outside Washington.
In March, AOL decided to use the seized sports car to tout its success in fighting spam. The ensuing sweepstakes, open only to AOL subscribers who completed an online entry form, garnered nearly 1.1 million entries.
Chase's hatred for spam got him the sports car.
"I find spam and spammers to be a routine irritation," Chase said in a statement. "I don't want to read their messages, and I always click on the 'Report Spam' button, and that makes me feel good. It's the most wonderful feeling [when we] can actually do something to the spam and the spammers."