CHICAGO (CN) – The FTC says it has shut down one of the largest “spam gangs” in the world, which sold bogus, dangerous drugs and “male enhancement products” over the Internet. Lance Atkinson of New Zealand and Jody Smith of Texas and their companies Inet Ventures, Tango Pay, Click Fusion and TwoBucks Trading may have been responsible for as much as “one-third of the world’s spam email,” the FTC says.
The FTC says it obtained a $2.2 million judgment against Atkinson and another partner in a similar scam in June 2005.
“Some security researchers believe that at one time, nearly one-third of the world’s spam email came from a network of compromised computers, often referred to as a botnet, that sent spam promoting the defendants’ Web site,” the FTC said in announcing that it had obtained a court order freezing the defendants’ assets.
The FTC says the defendants sold herbal supplements that contained sildenafil aka Viagra; falsely claimed that other drugs they sold came from the United States though they came from India; used false headers on their spam messages; made false claims about Hoodia gordonii, an alleged weight-loss product; and “recruited spammers around the world to send billions of spam messages directing consumers to Web sites operated by an affiliate program called Affking … failing to provide an opt-out link.”