On Thursday, some good news hit the battered lungs of a billion junk email filters like pure oxygen: Eleven of the world’s most prolific spammers — nine of whom live in the U.S. — were indicted by the Department of Justice.
According to papers unsealed in Detroit, the electronic highwaymen, facing a 41-count indictment, are a geographical grab bag, ranging from Queen Creek, Calif. to Hong Kong to Russia.
One of the alleged scams includes cooked up pump and dump stock schemes for Chinese corporations hungry to score First World dough. In these cases, Americans are told stocks are going to go up, people buy up the stock, and in the end only the company makes money.
According to U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy, it was, “one of the largest illegal spamming and fraud operations in the country.”
The indictment is the culmination of the three-year investigation, in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and even the Postal Service, all assisted. Not a bad coup for old snail mail.
In 2005 alone, federal investigators estimate that the ring generated $3 million with their scams.
Though it’s unclear how many of the spammers are in custody, and the indictment isn’t likely freeze the torrents of junk hitting your inbox every day, it is a refreshing bit of action from the Justice Department.
It’d be nice to see more of these shots across the bow in the future, and if the Postal Service has anything to say about it, a few more direct hits.
- Alan M. Ralsky, 52, of West Bloomfield, Mich.
- Scott K. Bradley, 46, of West Bloomfield, Mich.
- Judy M. Devenow, 55, of Lansing, Mich.
- John S. Bown, 47, of Poway, Calif.
- William C. Neil, 45, of Fresno, Calif.
- Anki K. Neil, 36, of Fresno, Calif
- James E. Bragg, 39, of Queen Creek, Ariz.
- James E. Fite, 34, of Whittier, Calif.
- Peter Severa, age unknown, of Russia
- How Wai John Hui, 49, of Vancouver, Canada and Hong Kong
- Francis A. Tribble, of Los Angeles, Calif.