New Zealand Man Fined $16 Million for Spamming

In New Zealand, a man living in Queensland has been ordered to pay more that $16 million for running the world's largest illegal spam operation. Lance Atkinson, 26 years old from Christchurch, was living in Pelican Waters on the Sunshine Coast when the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had the entirety of his assets frozen just last year.

Back then, he had admitted to sending spam and was fined $100,000 by a New Zealand court. But the FTC had a hunch that further punishment was due. Yesterday, the Commission fined him $16 million in a decision mirroring that of the Federal Court in Brisbane in October, which handed the same penalty to two SMS spamming companies.

The FTC discovered during their investigation that Atkinson and an American, Jody Smith, were at the very center of the largest internet spam operation in history, which is commonly known as "AffKing." Having recruited spammers from around the world, they proceeded to send billions of emails which directed recipients to websites advertising bogus male enhancement drugs and weight loss pills shipped from India, which they falsely claimed had come from a licensed pharmacy in the United States.

In order for their operation to run smoothly, Atkinson and Smith allegedly controlled a "botnet" of 35,000 computers, which were capable of sending 10 billion email messages a day. Servers in China hosted prop websites, and the drugs were then shipped from India, after operatives in Cyprus and the former Soviet republic of Georgia processed credit card information. Courtesy of

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