AOL believes a renegade Internet spammer buried gold and platinum on his parents' property in Massachusetts and wants to bring in bulldozers to search for the treasure and satisfy a $12.8 million judgment it won in federal court.
The family says it knows nothing about any buried treasure and will fight AOL's gold-digging plans.
AOL said Tuesday it intends to search for bars of gold and platinum that the company believes are hidden near the home of Davis Wolfgang Hawke's parents on two acres in Medfield, Mass.
AOL won a $12.8 million judgment against Hawke last year in U.S. District Court in Virginia but has been unable to contact him to collect any of the money he was ordered to pay. AOL accused Hawke of violating U.S. and Virginia anti-spam laws by sending massive amounts of unwanted e-mails to its subscribers. It won its case in a default judgment against Hawke, who didn't show up in court.
"I don't care if they dig up the entire yard. They're just going to make fools of themselves," said Peggy Greenbaum, Hawke's mother. "There's absolutely no reason for them to think that Davis Hawke would be stupid enough to bury gold on our property. My son is long gone."
At the height of Hawke's Internet activities, experts believe, Hawke and his partners earned more than $600,000 each month - much of it cash - by sending unwanted sales pitches over the Internet for loans, pornography, jewelry and prescription drugs.
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