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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Spam 'Godfather' gets 51 months in prison

The past few days have seen action in some significant cyber justice cases, most notably the 51-month prison sentence meted out to Alan M. Ralsky -- a man dubbed the "Godfather of Spam."

Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Mich., had a long career of blasting junk e-mail. According to the government, Ralsky was a top promoter of pump-and-dump scams, schemes in which fraudsters buy up low-priced stock, blast out millions of spam e-mails touting the stock as a hot buy and then dump their shares as soon as the share price ticks up from all of the spam respondents buying into the scam.

Anti-spam group Spamhaus.org said Ralsky has been spamming since at least 1997, using dozens of aliases and tens of thousands of hacked PCs to relay junk e-mail. Last January, a federal grand jury named Ralsky and 10 others from China, Canada, Hong Kong and Russia in a 41-count indictment for wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and violations of the CAN-SPAM Act. Ralsky's 48-year-old son-in-law, Scott K. Bradley, was among the indicted, and was sentenced last week to 40 months in prison. Also sentenced in connection with the scheme was How Wai John Hui, 51, who received a 51-month prison sentence.

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