The war on spam is just as doomed as the war on drugs, but the FBI has won a battle, bringing down a bulk commercial e-mail ring that pimped Chinese penny stocks into unwilling inboxes. They also developed bot network that helped spam avoid detection.
West Bloomfield, Mich. residents Scott Bradley, 38, and Alan Ralsky, Bradley’s 64-year-old father-in-law, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, money laundering and violating federal anti-spam laws, both face $1 million fines and up to six or seven years and change in prison.
“They got their man,” Richard Stiennon chief research analyst at IT research firm IT-Harvest, told SCMagazineUS.com on Tuesday. “The majority of spam is produced by a very small number of people, but these guilty pleas send a message out to other spammers. They will take their money and run.”
When Ralsky was originally indicted, stock spam stopped, Matt Sergeant, senior anti-spam technologist at MessageLabs, told SCMagazineUS.com on Tuesday.
Ralsky was one of the world’s most prolific spammers for a long time, Sergeant said. But eventually the law caught up to him.
“It’s illegal,” Sergeant emphasized. “There are fines and consequences.”
Many in the anti-spam community had almost given up hope that law enforcement would pursue spam operations, Sergeant said.
“This case shows that the FBI is keen on pressing and prosecuting violators,” he said.
Our Nigerian friends who constantly offer us business deals, however, remain at large.