Man allegedly responsible for a third of your spam e-mail arraigned
December 3rd, 2010
11:09 PM ET

Man allegedly responsible for a third of your spam e-mail arraigned

[Updated at 11:00 p.m.] Oleg Nikolaenko, a Russian man the FBI believes has been responsible for one-third of the spam in your inbox, pleaded not guilty Friday in federal court in Wisconsin.


[Posted at 10:20 a.m.] A Russian man the FBI believes has been responsible for one-third of the spam you get in your inbox is scheduled to be arraigned in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, court Monday.

According to court documents and FBI affidavits, researchers began tracking down the "Mega-D" spam automated botnet as a prime source of selling counterfeit goods, and the mastermind of it all is Oleg Nikolaenko.

"'Mega-D" was likely the largest botnet in the world, accounting for 32% of all spam," the court documents said. "Security researchers estimated that the botnet was capable of sending ten billion spam email messages a day.”

The documents show the scope of the counterfeit ring and the authorities' attempts to track down Nikolaenko.

A glimpse into how much Nikolaenko's operation may have made can be seen in court documents that allege that he received a payment of  $459,098.47 between June 4 and December 5, 2007, resulting from e-mails for those peddling everything from advertised erectile dysfunction drugs, other counterfeit prescriptions, "herbal remedies" and even fake Rolex watches.

A break in finding the alleged mastermind was one of those watches. The path to Nikolaenko began when a seller of counterfeit Rolexes told authorities after he was arrested that he paid more than $2 million working with spammers to sell his product. He gave them information that resulted in a trail of information that led officials across several continents, to different e-mail addresses and websites and, eventually, back to Nikolaenko.

FBI agents and the Federal Trade Commission had been monitoring him since at least 2007, according to documents. That included two trips to the U.S. last year. And their big nab came when he went to Las Vegas, Nevada, for an auto show. He was arrested on November 4.

Christopher Van Wagner, Nikolaenko's lawyer, could not be reached immediately for comment. But he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that so far, the charges against his client are only accusations.

"We're prepared to present a rigorous defense," he said.

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Filed under: Crime • Russia • Technology • Wisconsin
soundoff (498 Responses)
  1. Richard

    Prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. If you turn the time wasted in just deleting his email into loss of productivity, I'm sure its billions of dollars.

    December 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. iiflit

    This is clearly all George Bush's fault.

    December 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jatodog

    Pity he wasn't arrested in Russia. We prosecute spammers. They EXECUTE spammers.

    December 3, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. KalenJP

    I'm glad they caught that nasty spammer. Ugh.
    By the way, did you know that you can get a free Rolex watch? It's true! Just go to! 😀

    December 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ryan

    CNN better watch out for libel. The headline on the front page says, "This guy sent 32% of it." Of course, the headline on this article uses the golden word "allegedly," but still, you guys could get a major lawsuit over posting convicting statements like that on your home page.

    December 3, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Canadian Jim

    On every other posting I have always fought vigorously against the death penalty. It is unjust, arbitrary and irreversible. Except for this guy,. Light him up!

    December 3, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Old Fool

      I'm with you, Jim.

      December 3, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. davetharave

    This guy really ought to lose his testicles. What a pain in the butt !!! Perhaps a just punishment would be to eat 2 cans of Spam a day for the rest of his miserable life.

    December 3, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dorothea7

    The state of Louisiana has a nice place ALL purveyors of spam ought to be sent to – Angola. Arkansas' Tucker Prison Farm also comes to mind.

    December 3, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Quincy9

    And for all of his hard work... what does he get? Being the 'new fish' on the cell block and the guest of honor at a prison blanket party. I suggest that he swipe as many butter packets from the cafeteria as he can.

    December 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lazer007

    i hope you get life you craptard ..YOU!!! stoped me from talking to my fam and now i hope someone craps on you grave!!!..i hope the next craptard gets life and your vires makeing craptards hell is only the first step..its to good for you....buba will love his new cell mate..get use to it..were your panties high!!! and dont forget the soap!!! youl'l need lots of it!!!

    December 3, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mrrusss

    Sentence him to 10 years of going through millions of inboxes and deleting junk mail one at a time.

    December 3, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Free the Leaf

    tisk tisk. email spam

    cannabis is jobs.

    December 3, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. I hate spammers

    hang him!!

    December 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. booger

    Kill it. Kill it now, for the love of God. This thing must be eliminated.

    December 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AWW_JEAH

    That sucka should be forced to eat nothing but spam for the rest of his life MUAHAHAH DIE SLOW

    December 3, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
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