Thehacking and spam case, which was bound to target almost sixty million people, came to a close as all three perpetrators were caught and charged for fraud.
Federal prosecutors sentenced these three men for fraud and an identity theft scheme. All three were party to a two million dollar identity theft scheme by hacking corporate computer system and sending out spam messages to almost sixty million people.
According to the U.S attorney’s office, these three hackers aged thirty, thirty two and twenty eight respectively, were conspiring to commit wire fraud along with the theft. Hence, they were charged with conspiracy, fraud and other similar activities relating to cyber space crime. Out of those three men, two were charged individually for fraud and other criminal activity relating to electronic mail.
The three perpetrators are now facing up to twenty years in prison along with two hundred and fifty thousand in penalties, on account of their wire fraud charges. Other than that, they face an additional five years in jail and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to commit email fraud.
The assets and bank accounts of the two defendants charged with individual fraud were seized and frozen. Almost three hundred thousand dollars recovered from the accounts of the charged criminals were subjected to forfeiture. Two luxury cars belonging to one of the defendant were also seized.
All three of the defendants were looking to appeal the sentence and get it revoked. One of the defendant’s attorneyswas planning to enter a ‘not guilty’ plea in court soon while his office investigated the allegations made.Another one already had a pending bail hearing while the third was scheduled to appear in court within days.
According to the prosecutors, the three started a company called ‘A Whole Lot of Nothing’ in 2011, which basically sent spam messages to customers on behalf of the clients.
The operations of the company ranged from legal to illegal, with some legitimate clients hiring their services to others who were not that legitimate. The company had insurance firms enlisting their services for sending out bulk messages to their customers while on the other hand it also provided services to illegal pharmacies selling drugs without prescriptions.
It was alleged that one of the defendants used to charge anywhere from five to ten dollars for every email that led to the completion of a transaction.
The corporations that were targeted during the illegal operations conducted by the company include two telecommunication firms, a consultation and technology firm, and a credit over-looking unit. After the ISPs started blocking out spam, one of the hackers was asked to set up a program that would enable them to send out email without revealing the sender’s identity and pass through spam filters.
Corporate accounts were hacked into and confidential information was stolen. The perpetrators were charged with using proxies that enabled them send spam messaged and bypass filters.
Spam messages have been used by hackers to access personal information for a long time. Almost 1.5 million people get spam messages daily with ninety percent of those spams leading to security breaches.