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. Shrike

    Strapped face down with his legs hanging off a table.
    Then put him in a prison shower area and left alone.

    December 4, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rooster

    I hope they teach him how to turn himself into a falcon so that he can fly off of a mountain top and soar high among the clouds.

    December 4, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mark

    They should get everyone who has ever recieved his spam to line up, and in turn kick him in the balls

    December 5, 2010 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. elOteadro

    A lot of people are crying and calling for the hanging of the spammer.
    Shows how many suckers fall for spam. (this kid made something like $459,098.47 in six months – but then the story says the guy peddling watches paid $2Meg. big business.
    So the question that begs to be asked is who is doing the other 68% of spam?

    December 5, 2010 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. DCH

    Holy moley, that looks like Tom Welling of "Smallville" fame. I *knew* we couldn't trust him! (hehe)

    December 5, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. elOteadro

    this guy should be hired by the FBI and CIA to counter wikilieaks – flood them with spam.
    Hey, he would probalby do a better job at security thant what we have now.

    December 5, 2010 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. elOteadro

    Dave and Carie, you have proven that there are only three types of people:
    Those who can count and those who can't.

    December 5, 2010 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. joe

    this guy could go hollywood.. he's got the look

    December 5, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. elOteadro

    Hey! isn't it the kid from Three and a Half Men?

    December 5, 2010 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. elOteadro

    or is it Two and a half Men?
    I can't count – its one, two, and a bunch

    December 5, 2010 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. casted mars

    I swear, this is such a sadistic board it disturbs me. Granted, the guy has inconvenienced many people, but most of the comments here call for his torture, execution, maimed, experimented on, etc.
    What the hell?

    December 5, 2010 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
    • elOteadro

      Casted mars, hell has not wrath like a blogger spammed. (saddists)

      December 5, 2010 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. elOteadro

    My girl friend got an offer for 500 birth control pills for $19.95 plus S/H.
    It turned out to be m&ms.
    didn't stop her from getting pregnant but we had some sweet kids.

    December 5, 2010 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • FiXmdude

      Next time use Smarties.

      December 5, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. elOteadro

    spam, schpam – I would like to know who came up with the idea of blogs and forums like this.
    Did anyone notice there are some who have been here for hours and they are complaining about losing time with spam?
    I leave you with that tought. cya.

    December 5, 2010 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Venurao

    Guy is genius. I would rather prefer Nobel for him.

    December 5, 2010 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Venurao

    If you have problem with SPAM, it's your fault. Why blame him?

    December 5, 2010 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
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