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. Old Fool

    Now here is someone who truly should be stoned to death.

    December 3, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rob

    Finally... but that won't be enough to stop the other millions of spammers making money doing this. I just hope someday this crap will end and people will eventually see this is a waste of time... O well worth a shot right?

    December 3, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rcpr

    hang the sob!

    December 3, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    I can't but help wonder if the government is lying, because I am getting more spam then ever.

    I mean can you really trust the government? It's not just a Demapublican thing.

    December 3, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mark Henriksen

    Hang him by the b%$&@

    December 3, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. splasher6

    cut his fingers off

    December 3, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 1213514235

    I didn't even know that this was illegal. Surprised they went to all the trouble just for a spammer. Keep in mind, this guy spammed store links. This wasn't trojan or virus. Easy way to avoid spam btw...dont ever put ur email address anywhere on the web and don't use hotmail/yahoo/google for ur email.

    December 3, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh, you :T

      Surprisingly enough, selling fake rolex watches as the genuine article is a crime in this country.

      December 4, 2010 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. Michael Vick

    I do think there should be something to scare off the would-be spammers so they would think twice before sending spam. I know death penalty is too strong, perhaps every convicted spammers should be murdered after they come out of jail.

    December 3, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Angel

    This guy should hope for jail, now that his name and face are out there. It doesn't matter that the court system will blow this....the public will get him.

    December 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mikel1


    December 3, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Great Offers Online!

    Go to for the best deals on furniture, electronics, rolex watches and much, much more!

    December 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh, you :T

      Best comment ITT. True story.

      December 4, 2010 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. cromatic1

    SPAM – Fried and between bread and some 'basco sauce! ...that is a Russian recipe! Free this guy...he was obviously just kidding!

    December 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jen

    Sentence him to spelling and grammar lessons. Seriously, who would take any advertisement seriously with all the misspellings, etc.

    December 3, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jaintn

    I want 5 minutes with him so I can teach him some manners. Of course I'll be using a cattle prod to do it.

    December 3, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hokey Dokey

    So you've caught the sorry POS – now when do we quit getting the spam in our email?

    December 3, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
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