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. Protoman

    I had to close down one of my yahoo email accounts because of a phishing program that started emailing all my contacts spam. It's really annoying. I really hate the perpetual virgin hackers out there. Maybe if they spent more time at the gym instead of creating viruses they could feel the warm touch of a woman instead of a keyboard and the cold wet can of an energy drink.

    December 4, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Narrator

    Narrator: The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections.

    December 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • memine


      December 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |

    You want to kill a man that was spamming, are you fckng kidding me? What about all this polical crooks, and all the iligal activity our own government has been engaging in around the fckng globe, along side with bankers and diplomats. Now I know why our country id fcked up, ignorant basterds thats keep their bling folds on in the middle of a plain day, pothetic!

    December 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      How many human lives were wasted? Add up all the moments, hours, frustration and labor hours dealing with the results of the spam. How many human lifetimes were completely totally wasted?

      December 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stay out of my computer!!

      You're suggesting that we kill everyone, or no one? Hmmm. Not sure which way I lean on that idea.

      December 5, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Mad Shatter

    "Whad'ya mean uggghhhh...I Dont Like SPAM!"

    December 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stay out of my computer!!

      Monty Python never gets old! Hold the baked beans and give me more spam.

      December 5, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jason M

    Put this guy to work, hes a modernday Frank Abagnale Jr of the cyber world and hes still so young

    December 4, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Spencer

    Cillian Murphy sent me spam? What an honor.

    December 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JS

    Chain him to a signpost in the middle of a busy intersection, and force him to loudly recite verbatim the text of every spam e-mail message he ever sent while passersby walk by and kick him.

    December 4, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Blair

    Woo hoo! Less spam for us. Good for the bugger. A little timeout in jail will help him collect his thoughts and maybe start doing something productive for mankind.

    December 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rangel

    He should be censured.

    December 4, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Redawg

    They should put him to work to catch the remaining spammers as part of his sentence. Becuase he is clearly a very intelligent individual.

    December 4, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. viknat

    No problem here Obama will grant him a pardon with the cocaine dealers that he just recently pardoned

    December 4, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Voice O'reason


      December 5, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Saerol

      $TFU hater...

      December 5, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • PBello

      Jeez, people like you make us conservatives look bad.

      December 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mitch

    just take way his computer for a few years 😛

    December 4, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fairplay99

      Would that make him a Congressman?

      December 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. child please

    who G'sAF

    December 4, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kenny

    Turned him into Spam meat.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. russiaSuck

    once a russian...

    December 4, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
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