Spammers and Scammers In The Slammer
The steady stream of media reports about data breaches, phishing scams, and other cyber-threats can get pretty depressing. It seems like the bad guys are constantly winning. But in fact, law enforcement does score victories against spammers, scammers, and identity thieves, sending many to prison or worse. Here are a few examples...
They Didn't Get Away With It...
Sanford Wallace, the original self-styled “Spam King,” has pled guilty to fraud and criminal contempt of court in a case that dates back to 2008. In his guilty plea, Wallace admits to sending more than 27 million spam messages to over 500,000 Facebook members. He will be sentenced December 7, and faces up to three years in prison plus a $250,000 fine.
Wallace's misdeeds date back to early 1990s, when he engaged in junk fax marketing, and later ran CyberPromotions, which spewed email spam on a massive scale. He moved on to distributing spyware and malware, first on Myspace and then Facebook.
Prosecutors dubbed Robert Alan Soloway a “Spam King” during his 2007 trial for fraud, identity theft, money laundering, and fraud by mail, wire, and e-mail. He served 47 months in federal prison and was released in 2011.
And then there's the Russian King of Spam, who arguably deserved the title more than others who shared that nickname. Investigators believe that Oleg Nikolaenko's Mega-D botnet operation pumped out as many as 10 BILLION spam emails per day -- about one third of all spam in the late 2000s. In 2010 he was arrested while visiting a Las Vegas hotel, and spent three years in jail.
Albert Gonzalez is serving 20 years in Leavenworth prison for masterminding the biggest credit card scam in U. S. history. His gang stole and resold over 170 million credit card details between 2005 and 2007.
The UK is not without its online crooks. Peter Clifford "Weaselboy" Francis-Macrae spent six years in an English prison for, among other things, soliciting buyers for .eu domain names that he didn’t own. He also ran a fake ISP and Web hosting firm, using multiple aliases to make it seem the companies had many employees.
More Cybercriminals Who Went to Prison
Alan Ralsky started spamming in 1996, when his license to sell insurance was revoked, and soon became one of the most prolific spammers of all time. After Ralsky bragged about his “legitimate email marketing businesses” in The Detroit Free Press, the USENET community signed him up for every direct mailing list in the world. He was convicted of spamming and fraud in 2009 and spent the next three years in federal prison.
Richard Gundersen received a 41-month prison term and was ordered to pay $88 million in restitution following his November, 2014, conviction for his role in a complex scheme that involved hacking the networks of several banks and the U. S. military’s payroll system.
Arthur Grigorian will serve 42 months of federal time and repay $1.5 million to the IRS for his part in a tax fraud ring that used the stolen identities of elderly persons, many of whom had not filed taxes in years.
Mauricio Warner, of Smyrna, Georgia, got 20 years for filing $5 million worth of fraudulent tax refund claims using the stolen identities of over 5,000 victims. He obtained their Social Security Numbers and other data by promising “Obama stimulus payments” and “free government money” in spam e-mails.
Andranik Aloyan, of Los Angeles, a member of the Armenian Power criminal gang, was sentenced to 160 months in federal prison for racketeering conspiracy, attempted bank fraud, access device fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He also has to pay over $3.5 million in restitution to the 75 mostly elderly victims of his crimes.
A Worldwide Phenomenon...
25-year-old Hieu Minh Ngo will spend 13 years in Club Fed following his July, 2015, conviction for stealing the identities of more than 200 million Americans. Ngo, a Vietnam national, stole records from some of the world’s largest data brokers, including a division of credit reporting agency Experian, and sold them to other criminals.
Deniss Calovskis, the Latvian who helped improve the Gozi virus which infected banks’ Web sites and collected unauthorized data from visitors, pled guilty in September, 2015, to conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. He faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced on December 14.
Of course, no article about spammers and scammers would be complete without Nigeria, a country whose primary export is fraud. Olusegun Abayomi Martins, a citizen of that fair land, was convicted of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud in May, 2014. He will spend 42 months in the pen and then faces deportation. And in July, 2015, U. S. prosecutors successfully extradited six Nigerians who ran an online dating scam, the latest in their 15 year-string of online rackets.
Finally, the Justice Department may be getting tougher on cybercrooks, but the U. S. military has the maximum penalty. A U.S. drone strike in Syria killed Junaid Hussain, an ISIS hacker who exposed the personal data of several hundred military and civilian personnel.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Sep 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Spammers and Scammers In The Slammer (Posted: 18 Sep 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved