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Thread: Tycoon laments lost $65m as sex.com thief sits in jail

  1. #1
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Tycoon laments lost $65m as sex.com thief sits in jail

    Tycoon laments lost $65m as sex.com thief sits in jail
    By Helen Nugent
    IT COULD be the plot of a sleazy B-movie: a notorious con man becomes an online porn baron after stealing the world’s most valuable internet address, then goes on the run to dodge a $65 million court judgment. But what became one of the longest-running feuds of the dot-com boom, pitting a convicted fraudster against the rightful owner of the website, is not fiction. Stephen Cohen did hijack sex.com, make millions of dollars and skip the country.
    NI_MPU('middle');The extraordinary saga came to an end last month when Cohen, 57, was arrested in Tijuana, Mexico, as he applied for a work permit, four years after he absconded. He will be back in a Californian court this week where he will be told to hand over his fortune to Gary Kremen, the man who had the foresight to register sex.com in 1994. He must stay imprisoned until he pays back at least $25 million.
    Nobody really knows what happened to all the money. Cohen claims he has only $100,000 left but Mr Kremen’s lawyers believe millions have been squirrelled away.
    Millions of people log on to sex.com every month and the site reaps $8 million in advertising revenue each year. But Mr Kremen had no idea that he was sitting on a goldmine when he registered the domain name more than ten years ago.
    He turned his attention to other things, including the company that became the phenomenally successful online dating agency, Match.com, and did nothing with sex.com. But Cohen, who those close to him say is a consummate con man capable of making anyone believe his lies, saw the site’s potential.
    According to court documents filed in California, Cohen forged a letter to Network Solutions, the domain name registrar, saying that Mr Kremen had been fired and that Cohen should assume control of sex.com. Network Solutions handed the name over.
    When, some months later, Mr Kremen discovered that his sideline had been stolen, Network Solutions said it was powerless to intervene. And so began his long and torturous legal battle to retrieve sex.com.
    After his ten-year battle, Mr Kremen has mix

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspap...860879,00.html

  2. #2
    Senior Member mattblan's Avatar
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    I read this article a while ago on PacketStorm. The guy must have been a really good conman to have gotten away with so much money. Knowing the value of the domain, why didn't he put it to good use. I'm not sure the whole copyrighted domain names thing is what the original founders of the Internet had in mind. DNS was just a way to contact a site without having to remember IP addresses. Kinda sucks that we have all this domain hijacking and fraud. While we're at it, it also sucks to have all this spam, but that's a whole other ball of wax. Good article, Max.

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