Russian ‘spammer’ may face up to 17 years in prison

A Russian accused of running a global e-mail spam network that was at times responsible for sending one-third of global spam may face up to 17 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to court documents.

Oleg Nikolayenko, a 23-year-old resident of the town of Vidnoye south of Moscow, is believed to be behind the notorious Mega-D network, comprising more than 500,000 infected computers. The network, capable of sending up to 10 billion spam letters a day, was crippled late last year by the FireEye network security company.

Nikolayenko is charged with violating a U.S. anti-spam law, the CAN-SPAM Act, by falsifying information in commercial e-mail messages and sending a minimum of 2,500 spam e-mails per day.

Nikolayenko was arrested in early November at an auto show in Las Vegas. In December, he pleaded not guilty in a U.S. federal court. The judge in the state of Wisconsin then ordered Nikolayenko to be held without bail as he could attempt to return to Russia and wouldn’t be prosecuted.

The preliminary hearing into the case was held on March 25. The court, recognizing this case as complicated, set a deadline for the defense until May 27.

The FBI received information about Nikolayenko from convicted spammer John Smith and suspected spammer Lance Atkinson. Atkinson told investigators that the biggest partners in the “criminal spam world” were Russians.

The FBI claims Nikolayenko received $459,000 from Atkinson for advertising in the network.

MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti)

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