The Can-Spam law took effect in January 2004. And that very month, a gang of spammers who are now part of folklore launched a scheme that seemed to take Can-Spam as its playbook.
They used botnets (forbidden) false headers and domains (forbidden), and sent hundreds of millions of emails to people who didn’t want them (forbidden). Worse, they peddled worthless pennystocks and used a Russian hacker to feed their botnets.
The alleged ringleader was the so-called Godfather of Spam: Alan J. Ralsky.