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A New York teenager has become the first American to be arrested for sending spam messages across IM networks. Anthony Greco, 18, of Cheektowaga, New York, was charged with violations of the CAN-SPAM Act after allegedly sending 1.5m messages punting mortgage refinancing and adult pornography to MySpace.com users in October and November 2004. According to a criminal complaint, Greco created thousands of fraudulent instant messaging accounts on MySpace.com to bombard its users with junk IM messages.

Greco allegedly threatened additional attacks unless MySpace.com, an online community site popular with teenagers, hired him as a consultant. He travelled to Los Angeles last week hoping to granted "exclusive" rights to send commercial e-mail to users of the MySpace.com only to be arrested by officers from the US Secret Service and the Los Angeles Police Department after he stepped off the plane.

Along with violating the CAN-SPAM Act, Greco is accused of causing damage to MySpace.com's computers "with the intent to extort", and causing damage to a protected computer, offences punishable by a combined maximum of 18 years imprisonment on conviction. Greco was released 17 February on a $25,000 bond, the LA Times reports. ®

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