Feeds

Prolific penis pill pushers fined almost $19m

At last

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Federal authorities have imposed almost $19m in fines on an enterprise accused of spamming the world with billions of emails advertising male-enhancement pills and other pharmaceuticals.

Lance Thomas Atkinson, a New Zealand citizen who resides in Australia, was fined more than $15.15m for his role as the mastermind of the vast spam network, which operated under the affiliate umbrella Affking. Three companies affiliated with his US accomplice, Jody Smith, are liable for $3.77m.

Previously, the defendants were slapped with fines that could only be described as paltry compared to the proceeds of their enterprise. While the increased fines are good news, it's unclear if they will ever be paid. Even after the FTC obtained a $2.2m judgment against Atkinson in 2005, he continued to recruit spammers for his various websites, according to FTC attorneys.

Atkinson recruited spammers from all over the world to push pills for male enhancement, weight loss, and mood disorders. Operating under names such as Target Pharmacy, Canadian Healthcare and Inet Ventures Pty Ltd of Australia, the businesses said sales of the drugs was legal and protected by SSL encryption, claims the Federal Trade Commission said were false.

Richard Cox, CIO of junkmail crusader Spamhaus.org, said Atkinson and Smith were "probably the most prolific spammers at the moment" when federal authorities hamstrung the operation in October 2008. The men took great pains to distance themselves from the operation, creating a handful of shell companies located throughout the world to launder the large sums of money they brought in and to purchase domain names and credit card services.

Smith pled guilty in August to conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods, and faces a maximum of five years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for December in US District Court in Missouri. He has agreed to pay $212,000 and has assigned the rights to money held in two bank accounts that have been frozen.

The fine against Atkinson was imposed in a default judgment and order (PDF) issued Monday by US District Judge Virginia M. Kendall of the Illinois Eastern Division. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.