A spammer who was responsible for 1/3 of the world’s spam at one point in time, has been fined $16 Million by the US Federal Trade Commission.
The fine is in relation to his role in the generation of over 10 Billion spam emails a day spruiking prescription drugs.
Lance Atkinson, a New Zealander living in Queensland, Australia, had previously been fined $100,000 by a Queensland court for his role in sending out over 2 Million spam emails in one particular incident focused on New Zealand email addresses.
That effort allegedly netted him and his crew over $2Million. While that number sounds a little high (a buck an email?) there was no doubt enough revenue generated to convince them that they should up the ante.
And up it they did.
According to The Brisbane Times, The FTC case revolved around Atkinson, his brother Shane, American Jody Smith and New Zealander Roland Smits, generating those 10 Billion messages a day using their 35,000 PC strong bot-net.
The plan? Use a complicated series of international supply, distribution and payment providers to benefit from the online sale of prescription drugs.
The Times explains the operation further by saying:
“Servers in China hosted the websites and the drugs were shipped from India, while operatives in Cyprus and the former Soviet republic of Georgia processed credit card information”
I’m not sure how the FTC intends to enforce the ruling (they have frozen his assets so there might be something there for them) but good on them for shutting this down.