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Ralsky is arraigned / sentenced


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He's not on the run somewhere in Europe then. The popular press is so unreliable, thanks for the link to a more professional source.
Not to say he won't skip bail, but he seems a bit old to be playing D.B. Cooper.

One of his partners-in-crime did manage to get a dispensation from the court: she was allowed to leave Michigan to travel to LA to visit her granddaughter ("Granny, are you really going to the big house?").

-- rick

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  • 9 months later...
One of his partners-in-crime

Ralsky confidant agrees to rat out notorious spam gang

A woman accused of aiding notorious spam kingpin Alan Ralsky in a relentless junkmail torrent has admitted to sending tens of millions spam messages and agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of her boss. A second defendant is expected to plead guilty on Friday.

Judy M. Devenow, 56, of Lansing, Michigan, pleaded guilty to felony fraud and conspiracy charges, according to documents filed in US District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan. She was arrested in January and along with Ralsky and nine others, was indicted for involvement in a "sophisticated and extensive" spamming operation that netted some $3m. Prosecutors say the gang used botnets to relay millions of junk messages each day during a 20-month period.

In a plea agreement filed Tuesday, Devenow said that from January 2004 to September 2005 she transmitted or caused to be transmitted tens of millions of spams with fraudulent headers that disguised the origin of the messages. The spam was part of an aggressive pump and dump campaign that promoted thinly traded stock in Chinese companies with tickers including CDGT, WWBP, CWTD and PGCN. Devenow personally sent some of the messages and managed others who did the same.


So far nine of the defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty. Trial has not been scheduled.

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  • 7 months later...

'spam King' pleads guilty to fraud

Alan M. Ralsky, 64, known as the "spam King" for his years as a prolific and sophisticated e-mailer for hire, entered pleas before U.S. District Judge Marianne O. Battani to crimes that could cost him $1 million and put him behind bars for more than seven years.

Ralsky also agreed to help the government in future investigations in return for a possible reduction in his sentence.


He pleaded guilty to being the mastermind of a scheme that boosted the value of "pink sheet" Chinese penny stocks by spamming tens of millions of Internet e-mail addresses with promotional messages.

When the prices rose, Ralsky and his co-defendants unloaded their stocks at a profit, according to government investigators.

It was alleged that Ralsky made about $3 million from illegal spamming in the summer of 2005 alone.


W. Bloomfield spam king pleads guilty

A 41-count indictment last year said Ralsky, 63, of West Bloomfield; his son-in-law, Scott Bradley, 47, also of West Bloomfield, and nine other people used unsolicited e-mail to pump up the price of penny stock in Chinese companies to artificially high prices and then sold it, reaping huge profits for themselves and leaving Internet subscribers who purchased it holding the bag.


Ralsky’s operation illegally maximized the amount of spam that could be sent while evading spam-blocking devices, and tricked recipients into opening and acting on advertisements, prosecutors said.

Tactics included false headers in e-mail messages; proxy computers to disguise the source of spam; falsely registered domain names to send spam, and misrepresenting the advertising content of e-mail messages, prosecutors said.

Ralsky’s plea deal says prosecutors probably will recommend 35 to 43 months in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 29.


Fresno spammers plead guilty

John S. Bown, 45, of Fresno, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and to violate the CAN-spam Act.

He also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit computer fraud by creating a botnet and violating the CAN-spam Act. A botnet is a network of computers that have been infected by malicious software. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Bown acknowledges he is facing up to 63 months in prison and a $75,000 fine under the federal sentencing guidelines.

William C. Neil, 46, of Fresno, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the CAN-spam Act and violating the CAN-spam Act. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Neil acknowledges he is facing up to 37 months in prison and a $30,000 fine under the federal sentencing guidelines.

According to court records, from January 2004 through September 2005, Ralsky, Scott Bradley, Judy Devenow, Bown, William Neil, Anki Neil, James Bragg, Fite, Peter Severa, How Wai John Hui, Francis Tribble, and others engaged in a related set of conspiracies designed to use spam e-mails to manipulate thinly traded stocks and profit by trading in those stocks once their share prices increased after recipients of the spam e-mails traded in the stocks being promoted.


Ralsky served as the chief executive officer and primary deal maker for the spam e-mail operation. Bradley, Ralsky's son-in-law, served as the chief financial officer and director of operations for the spam e-mail operation.

Bown, who was chief executive officer of an Internet services company, GDC Layer One, served as the chief technology officer for the spam e-mail operation. William Neil, who was an employee of GDC Layer One, built and maintained a computer network used to transmit spam e-mails as part of the conspiracy. Fite was a contract spammer who hired others to send spam e-mails as part of the conspiracy.

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Thanks for the update. Soon we can change the topic title to "Ralsky is Convicted."

I think back 2-3 years of all the stock spam I used to get, much of it for these strange Chinese companies (CWTD for example). I guess Ralsky must have been in back of much of it. Nowadays the stock spam is pretty much down to zero (at least for me). So, we do occasionally win one in the war on spam.

-- rick

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  • 3 weeks later...


David S Patton, 49, of Centreville, Virginia, faces up to six years in prison after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting breaches of the US CAN-spam Act in concert with Ralsky and others. Patton agreed to forfeit an estimated $50,100 from sales of spamming tools called Nexus and Proxy Scanner, as well as paying a nominal fine of $3,000.

Between January 2004 until September 2005, Patton developed and marketing his illegal bulk mailing tools via a firm called Lightspeed Marketing. Nexus was designed to falsify the headers of spam messages while Proxy Scanner was designed to channel junk mail through compromised zombie proxies, typically PCs in either homes or businesses infected with Trojan horse malware.

Patton is the 12th defendant charged over involvement in a pump-and-dump stock price scam operation masterminded by Ralsky, which was dismantled following a three year FBI-led investigation. The fraud - which grossed an estimated $3m in just 18 months - involved inflating the price of thinly-traded stocks owned by people based in China and Hong Kong.

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  • 4 months later...

51 month prison sentence

Alan Ralsky was sentenced to more than four years in prison by a U.S. District Judge in Detroit for spearheading an e-mail stock scam that defrauded victims and violated the CAN spam Act

Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Mich., along with his son-in-law, Scott Bradley, 48, were sentenced for heading an illegal spamming scheme designed to artificially inflate stock prices and profit by trading in those stocks once their share prices increased.

In addition to his sentence, Ralsky faces five years of supervised probation and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and violation of the CAN-spam Act.

Bradley was sentenced to more than 3 years in prison, as well five years of supervised probation, for committing wire fraud, engaging in money laundering and violating the CAN-spam Act,


In addition, two other conspirators, How Wai John Hui, of Hong Kong and Canada, received 51 months and John Brown of Fresno, Calif. received 32 months for their roles in the spam ring. Brown was charged with running the botnet that sent the spam while Hui was accused of wire and mail fraud.

Five other members of the crime ring are expected to be sentenced Wednesday.

The sentencing concludes a three-year investigation by the FBI, with the help of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the IRS, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Philadelphia Regional Office.

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