There is a story of a web site owner who switched from an old domain to a new one he just acquired. The issue is, it seems like the new domain the owner switched to was penalized in Google before.
The story is at a Google Webmaster Help thread, where the site owner said, "I did a domain name change a little over a month ago. For the first week everything was amazing and I didn't lose any traffic at all. Then, a week later it dropped by 50% and that`s where it has stayed since."
The previous site's owner, as far as I can tell from the Way Back Machine was someone in Bangkok. JohnMu from Google said it somewhat clearly:
it looks like your new domain name may have been used for other purposes previously. In general, when you change to a new domain name that might have been used before, it's a good idea to submit a reconsideration request, detailing the change of ownership (or at least change of purpose).
The old site, from what I can tell, seemed mostly fine. It is the gap in the Way Back Machine between 2004 and 2010 that worries me. John's advice is that all new domains that may have been used before should start off with a reconsideration request. This way Google can wipe the slate clean and the site can start as new.
Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.