Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

AOL Digs Up Yard for Spam Gold 230

Registered Coward v2 writes "AOL is planning to dig in a MA couple's yard looking for buried gold and platinum owned by a spammer they successfully sued for spamming AOL. AOL said Tuesday it intends to search for gold and platinum bars the company suspects are hidden near the home of Davis Wolfgang Hawke's parents on two acres in Medfield, Massachusetts. The family said it will fight in court to oppose AOL's plans."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

AOL Digs Up Yard for Spam Gold

Comments Filter:
  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:03AM (#15917628) Homepage Journal
    23473437 Gold
    23473437 Platinum
    23473437 Me too!!!!11!!!one!!
    23473437 Gold Rush
    23473437 Pirates
    23473437 Pirates -Caribbean
    23473437 Plunder
    23473437 Spam
    23473437 Spam Gold
    23473437 how to stop spam
    23473437 gold in Mrs Wolfgang Hawkes' backyard
    23473437 gold in Mrs Wolfgang Hawkes' frontyard
    23473437 gold in Mrs Wolfgang Hawkes' land
    23473437 gold in Medfield fields
    23473437 court fight
    23473437 lawyers
    23473437 lawyers -sco
    23473437 how to kill your wife
    23473437 how to kill customers
    23473437 poop
    • You missed "steak and cheese". :-)
    • by LordSnooty ( 853791 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @07:40AM (#15917877)
      23473437 Pirates -Caribbean

      Haha, as if AOL users would be savvy enough to use the NOT operator. You had me going up to that point!
    • by MoxFulder ( 159829 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @09:50AM (#15918723) Homepage
      Dear Friend,

      I know this letter may come as a surprise to you, but I am in desperate need and have heard that you can be trusted in these matters. I am Mrs. Susan Johnson Hawke, mother of Davis Wolfgang Hawke, who has been wrongly accused of spamming by the tyrannical United States government in concert with the scheming Internet giant, America Online.

      A few months ago, sensing that the authorities were preparing to imprison him, my son Davis concealed a cache of precious metal bars on our rural Massachussetts property. He made me promise not to reveal their location to anyone except in case of greatest emergency.

      Now, the health of my son Davis is in great danger. Prison authorities will not pay for his care, and demand that I do so. His h3@lth is bad and he is unable to 5.A.T.1.5.F.Y his lovers all night long with his man h00d... he desperately needs V1@grA and CailIs sofTabs. He is also gaining weight and absolutely needs some fat-burning Hoodia, now for low-price and risk-free for only $29.95.

      Will you help me save my son??? I have dug up the metal bars from our land, but tragically they have been transformed from their original lustrous gold and platinum sheen, to a dull-gray color. I need to purchase a large quantity of special chemicals in order to transform the sticken ingots and restore them to their original condition, so that I may sell them and get the money I desperately need to help my son Davis Hawke.

      If you can provide me with sufficient funds to purchase these chemicals, I will gladly reward you with 20% of the value of the gold and platinum bars once they have been sold. Please contact me if you are willing to do this, as it is a very urgent matter.

      Mrs. Susan Johnson Hawke
  • Nothing to hide? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eddy ( 18759 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:05AM (#15917632) Homepage Journal
    I know this will sound like a stupid "If you've got nothing to hide...", but really, if there weren't anything hidden out there, and AOL could be made sure to fix any damage the do (grass, trees, etc).. why would you fight this? Wouldn't it simply be AMUSING to watch them flail blindly?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:09AM (#15917643)
      You're totally right. Hell, a couple months ago, my wife was bothering me: "We need a new barn! It's falling apart, for Darwins sake!" I kept telling her that we don't have the money for a new barn. Then it hit me: Tip off the FBI that Hoffa is buried under it.

      My, how they came in droves. Destroyed the barn, including the foundation. And now, they're rebuilding it at tax payer expensive.
      • by sanyam_y ( 982945 )
        I first thought that this posting was a spoof only to check that it is real. This shows how low can AOL get. After sacking half of its workforce it wants to dig backyards. Is it not digging its own graveyard...?
        • I first thought that this posting was a spoof only to check that it is real. This shows how low can AOL get. After sacking half of its workforce it wants to dig backyards. Is it not digging its own graveyard...?

          How low can they get? How far can you dig with a backhoe?

          This is really quite simple: assuming they have reason to believe that the gold is buried there, and the gold is owed to them as the means to settle a judgement, then it is very much their legal right to recover that property.

      • Reminds me of an old joke I remember reading:

        (Found here [])
        An old Italian man lived alone in the country. He wanted to dig his tomato garden, but it was very hard work as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament.

        Dear Vincent,

        I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me.

        Love Dad

        A few days later he received a letter from his son.

        Dear Dad,

        Not for nothing, but don't dig up that garden. That's where I buried the BODIES.

        Love Vinnie

        At 4 a.m., the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

        Dear Dad,

        Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.

        Love Vinnie

        Just make sure you tell them that you think the bars are buried under those big rocks you've been wanting to remove from the garden ... free landscaping. I think I'll have to call the Feds right now!
        • by John Courtland ( 585609 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @09:36AM (#15918611)

          The phone rings at KGB headquarters.


          "Hello, is this KGB?"

          "Yes. What do you want?"

          "I'm calling to report my neighbor Yankel Rabinovitz as an enemy of the
          State. He is hiding undeclared diamonds in his firewood."

          "This will be noted."

          Next day, the KGB goons come over to Rabinovitz's house. They search
          the shed where the firewood is kept, break every piece of wood, find no
          diamonds, swear at Yankel Rabinovitz and leave.

          The phone rings at Rabinovitz's house.

          "Hello, Yankel! Did the KGB come?"


          "Did they chop your firewood?"

          "Yes, they did."

          "Okay, now it's your turn to call. I need my vegetable patch plowed."
    • Re:Nothing to hide? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Peden ( 753161 )
      Perhaps but their private property is none of AOL's business, having something to hide or not.
      For all we know, Jimmy Hoffa could be buried there :)
      • I can see the article that will be published 6 months from now...

        "After months of intense excavating, all that was found was the corpse of Jimmy Hoffa holding O.J.'s Heisman trophy."
    • Probably because it's a hassle. Imagine waking each morning to the sound of a backhoe chewing through your well-manicured lawn. That's not something I'd want to hear for a couple weeks. Additionally, even if AOL replaces what they tear up, looking at Hydroseed on a big flat plot of dirt isn't quite as nice as the grass or other plants that used to be there.

      And finally there's a consideration of the land having some environmental value such as being part wetland or home to wild grasses (this is all, of co
      • It's not like they're looking for a body in a murder investigation
        Well Murder is a crime, spamming is a crime so we're talking about quantitative not qualitative differences here. If the plunder was buried with permission, then the parents accessories before and after the fact; if it was without permission at the least they are inocently in possesion of stolen property. I wouldn't expect the courts to be to protective of Hawke's rights as he didn't even respect the court enough to attend his own trial. AOL
    • Simple ground radar imaging should be able to pinpoint where to dig (if anywhere), so little (if any) damage would be done.
      • You're a real killjoy. Looking for buried gold with radar is just missing the spirit of the exercise entirely. Ok so is a digger. They should have people out there with shovels.

      • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin@x[ ].net ['oxy' in gap]> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @09:14AM (#15918341) Homepage Journal
        True, but assuming AOL gets permission from a court to search the area, they really have no motivation to be less destructive than they're allowed to be. If they can demonstrate to a judge that there's reasonable cause to believe that the couple are protecting a cache of misbegotten goods, and one of their goals is also to make a point to the world/public about spamming and how it's not a good thing to do, then it would make sense that they would try and argue for the most destructive method of searching available.

        I'd say that the best way to do it would be to go in there with heavy equipment, and just run all the dirt on the property down to a depth of about six feet or so through a sifter. It's probably reasonably cheap from AOL's perspective (all you need is a backhoe and a separator/sifter -- that's probably not the right term for it, but you've probably seen the machines that do this), and it creates a nice TV image if what you want to show is a spammer/family-of-spammer getting their lives trashed.

        A whole lot of people out there really hate spammers; it's one of those things that pretty much everybody hates and has to deal with, and the idea that people who profited (potentially) from spam are getting their lives turned upside down isn't necessarily a bad PR move. Of course, it could easily backfire if the people in question can portray themselves as the victims, but if they're sufficiently uncharismatic, don't think for a moment that the American public won't be beside themselves with glee seeing their lawn get trashed. Public opinion in this country has a bit of a vengeful streak -- there's nothing we like better than seeing karma come around and bite someone in the ass.

        All depends on who can make themselves look like the good guy.
        • I fully agree. And I think AOL should not put the landscaping back the way it was: leave the spammer's yard with big piles of dirt. Let the spamming scumbags sue to recover the cost of re-landscaping and drag the suit out as long as possible. I never thought I'd be on AOL's side for anything, but this is one exception.
          • leave the spammer's yard with big piles of dirt.

            This is the spammer's parents' house. If you read the article, you would know that the spammer drove an old beater car and never owned property. He was a millionaire on paper, not by lifestyle. Punishing his parents for his crime is wrong and illegal.

    • by 15Bit ( 940730 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:24AM (#15917690)
      For some people reparations are not enough. If you put a lot of effort into your garden and it gets bulldozered, then no amount of fixing is going to make it the same. Some plants take years to mature, and a nice, flat, moss-free lawn can take a lifetime. For many a garden is a labour of love, not just a quick trip to the garden centre.

      And using heavy machinery does seem a bit like overkill. If the guy did bury his ill-gotten gains there, then he did it with a spade. Surely an old fashioned metal detector would do the trick, and failing that one of those clever underground scanners the archeologists use.

      • "Some plants take years to mature, and a nice, flat, moss-free lawn can take a lifetime"

        And on top of that, the result would be "a garden somebody else made", which has a very different feel to "our garden that we made".

      • And using heavy machinery does seem a bit like overkill. If the guy did bury his ill-gotten gains there, then he did it with a spade. Surely an old fashioned metal detector would do the trick, and failing that one of those clever underground scanners the archeologists use.

        If there's sufficient reason to believe that his parents are complicit in the caching of the ill-gotten gains, then I think they should bulldoze the house, too.

        Otherwise, you're right; they should be doing imaging, not digging indis

    • by kfg ( 145172 ) *
      AOL could be made sure to fix any damage the do (grass, trees, etc)..

      Have you ever tried to "fix" a tree with a bulldozer?

      • Too true. You can kill a tree with a bulldozer without even touching it. You can damage the roots enough just by compacting the soil driving around near the tree.
  • "She said AOL's lawyer notified the family that the company intends to use bulldozers and geological teams to hunt for gold and platinum on their property."

    I think it's a little bit of an overkill. If the article is true, the man just used shovels to hide the gold. Sounds like the ol' Gold Rush to me.

    "AOL said it will try to accommodate Hawke's parents by not being too obtrusive."

  • by triorph ( 992939 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:19AM (#15917672)
    man i don't know who to side against on this one, can't we rework this article to be like "innocent spam victim plans to take money back from evil spammer" or "AOL sues internet worker and destroys lawn looking for gold" man when the media isn't making it clear of what my opinion should be they're obviously not doing their job right
  • Does the date on that page say April 1st? This has got to be the best non-April 1st April Fool's story I've ever seen.
  • Oh well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <wgrother.optonline@net> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:20AM (#15917678) Journal
    Greenbaum said her husband and father intend to challenge AOL's plans to dig on the family's property and search the family's 3,000-square-foot home. She said AOL's lawyer notified the family that the company intends to use bulldozers and geological teams to hunt for gold and platinum on their property.

    AOL said it will try to accommodate Hawke's parents by not being too obtrusive.

    As if bulldozers weren't obtrusive when they're tearing up your yard?

    Is it possible for AOL to do anything even more stupid? Are they trying to set a record for stuipd things in a month? Never have the mighty fallen so far.

  • X marks the spot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spooky ghost ( 70606 )
    And even if AOL lose they've marked the spot with a big X. There are going to be plenty of people believing that there is gold hidden on the property and they'll all be sneaking around and digging holes hoping to get a piece of the treasure. It'll be worse than an invasion of moles (or whatever the local burrowing creatures are.)
    • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:24AM (#15917689) Homepage Journal
      It'll be worse than an invasion of moles (or whatever the local burrowing creatures are.)

      I believe the burrowing creatures you refer to are known as lawyers.
  • Yarrr.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kazymyr ( 190114 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:23AM (#15917684) Journal
    Shiver me timbers! Mateys, now on to digging for the hidden pirate's treasure!
  • by hagrin ( 896731 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:25AM (#15917695) Homepage Journal
    ... isn't there a way that they could use a helicopter equipped with metal detection devices to determine if anything is buried on the property without actually digging? (I'm pretty sure I saw this on a Law & Order: Criminal Intent once).

    I would assume that a non-intrusive "search" of the property would at least be a middle ground between the two sides.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:26AM (#15917699)
    AOL move from data mining to actual mining
  • Damages (Score:5, Funny)

    by thelonestranger ( 915343 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:30AM (#15917708)
    AOL will not offer to pay for damages caused. However they will give them a one time discount of 50% on an AOL Broadband Platinum account for the first 3 months (Subject to a 12 month contract, standard terms, conditions and fair usage policy apply)
  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:31AM (#15917711)
    OK, you're AOL management, you've successfully sued a spammer and discover he's hidden all his "hard earned" assets as gold and platinum bars somewhere. If you had the opportunity, wouldn't you be out there with shovels helping to dig the place up? I know I would.

    What they should do is offer a 10% fee for finding the treasure.

  • by Tracer_Bullet82 ( 766262 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:33AM (#15917718)
    As you may have heard AOL is currently in the process of gold and platinum extraction from the lands of the Golde's estate.

    We hear at Shark, Shark and Partners represent the Golde's estate. The estate firmly believe that the gold and platinum belong to people/s that have been victims of spam. Certainly not AOL.

    with that in mind the estate would like to invite the public to be in a "treasure hunt". Unfortunately, due to obvious reasons, this cannot be open to all publics.

    Hence we have selested a lucky few to be in the treasure hunt.
    Only 400 has been invited.

    Please reply to this e-mail to accept.

    A processing fee of 20'000 will be required from each participant.

    Yours truly.

    Darl M.

    P.s.. It's very sunny here in Chad. Hope to be vacationing with you next year here.

    P.s.. A processing fee of 20'000 will be required from each participant. We are sure this ceratinly will be a drop
  • "A good glass in the bishop's hostel in the devil's seat -- forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes -- northeast and by north -- main branch seventh limb east side -- shoot from the left eye of the death's-head -- a bee-line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out."
    Problem solved.
  • Ha (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ichigo Kurosaki ( 886802 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @06:38AM (#15917729)
    Not if I get there first.

    **grabs shovel**
  • Erm? (Score:2, Funny)

    by ijakings ( 982830 )
    Am I the only person here who read the story and thought "Did I get up in a parrallel timeline today?" It is the most random thing ive ever seen. ISP's digging spammers gardens up to look for buried treasure? Watch out AOL, Im sure a producer will be on you to make a movie out of this. You just cant make this sort of stuff up.
  • You can't make this shit up...
  • by gsasha ( 550394 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @07:50AM (#15917913) Homepage
    Dear Sir,

    This is Davis Wolfgang Hawke, an ex-spammer that lost a $12 million lawsuit from AOL, who are going to seize my $6 million in gold and platinum bars that I've hidden in the area of Boston, MA.

    I need to recover the gold bars as soon as possible, before the AOL investigators get a chance to dig them up, however, I am unable to come back to US in fear of being arrested.

    To this end, I'm seeking your cooperation. I'm willing to provide you with 10% share of the fortune, which is $600,000 dollars (sig hundred thousand dollars) in gold and platinum bars. Please, this business is extremely urgent and I will need your cooperation soon. I know you are a honest person, because I found your name in one of my extensively verified spam-lists, and I would like to conduct this business with you. You can remain confident that this business is completely safe as there is no risk for you whatsoever, only gains to be made. If you are willing to make this business with me, contact me at

    Best Regards,
  • Medfield, Ma (Score:2, Interesting)

    by erbbysam ( 964606 )
    I live and currently am typing this in Medfield and I have to say that this is one of the biggest things to happen to this town since Disney started using the name in all of his movies... Wiki page on medfield [] There's only about 12,000 people in the town and I know exactly where that house is which kinda makes me want to take a walk with a shovel this weekend...
  • by spezz ( 150943 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @07:59AM (#15917942)
    It's Nazi Gold [].

    The sweetest loot of all.
  • 1) Declare Hunting Season open
    2) Invite Dick Cheney
    3) Invite AOL to come dig
    4) Make commemorative buttons
    5) Profit - Earn more than buried treasure is worth

  • Two questions:

    1) Haven't these people heard of a metal detector?

    2) Now that this is public, have the authorities or AOL taken steps to stop random people sneaking onto this poor family's property in the dead of night to do a little digging?
  • Ah, it's ironic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aphrika ( 756248 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @08:24AM (#15918037)
    ...if they dug up my back garden, they'd find 5 years worth of unsolicited ISP CDs they used to send me - oh, let's call them spam for the sake of argument - and bloody annoying they were too!
  • Just before I had enough floppy discs to do anything fun with, they switched to CDs.
  • I could just see it at a board meeting. AOL Is trying to find a revenu source. Some young guy goes well we could go looking for burried treasure. Then the managers stop and think about it walk out the room and in 5 minutes come back in with Patches on their eyes and Pirate hats, and yell "Arr Maty Treature!"
  • Fools (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mephij ( 804881 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @09:14AM (#15918343) Homepage
    They only got half the medalion! The staff was too long. They're digging in the wrong place!
  • Was it gold and platinum, or is that some kind of error and it's really gold-pressed latinum? I'd imagine it's actually the latter, as that's the twelfth spammer rule of acquisition.
  • There's gold in them there spam!
  • In 1978, a made-for-TV adaptation of "The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank," by Erma Bombeck. Carol Burnett played the narrator, who is a housewife whose family has been battling the perils of suburbia, including the perfect lawn.

    I remember the very ending, where their doorbell rings, and their landlord tells them, "Congratulations! We just found out that your septic tank is not up to code, so we'll have to install a brand new one for you!" The family members shout with dismay, until the father
  • I bet the Gold and Platinum wasn't precious metals... he probably spent the money on a Gold digging Platinum Blonde and of course plenty of V1agra, so sorry AOL the money is long gone, re-spent on Vera Wang, Plastic Surgery and Facials at the local Spa....
  • by CPIMatt ( 206195 ) * on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:17AM (#15918999)
    If I knew that AOL was coming with bulldozers to dig in my yard, I would go out and get a couple hundred ingots of iron and bury them around my yard at random. Maybe also buy a few junk cars and park them around the yard.

    • You're a kind soul. I'd buy pet scorpions and plenty of natural fertiliser. Also, there's no law against having make-believe grendades and expended munitions buried in your yard. I'd give em a show, I would.
  • "Greenbaum said the family believes Hawke buried gold in the White Mountains 130 miles north of Boston."

    A clue! Buried treasure up in the White Mountains! There is going to be some serious treasure hunting going on up there...
  • Here is a game transcript that I found somewhere. It seems to be from the new premium module for Neverwinter Nights, titled "Spammers of Cape Cod":
    • "This map only works in the 'Spammer's Back Yard' section!"
    • "First, go to the Garden Hose, located 13 paces southwest from your current position."
    • "You found the Garden Hose!"
    • "Now, go to the Birdbath, located 27 paces northeast from your current position."
    • "You found the Birdbath!"
    • "Now, go to the Garden Hose, located 14 paces southeast from your current position."
    • "Y
  • You just can't make this stuff up.

    Stories like this prove that fact is WAY funnier than fiction.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous