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Nigerian Spammers Whacked for $610M

MANHATTAN (CN) - Nigerian and Thai scammers who spammed Yahoo! customers about a fake lottery must act now on a $610 million default judgment against them, a federal judge ruled.

For several years, the spammers flooded inboxes with millions of emails about a Yahoo! lottery, which a fraud, promising large cash awards for sweepstakes the email customers had not entered.

"Winners" who responded received instructions to pay a fee and send their address, phone number, bank account and other information, in an email with the Yahoo! name and logo. The spammers harvested the personal information for credit and identity scams.

Yahoo customers first complained in November 2006, prompting an investigation that turned up 11,660,790 hoax emails.

In May 2008, Yahoo filed its first lawsuit against unidentified defendants, then filed three amended complaints as it learned the identities of those they were suing.

They are Daiann Nakchan, Chinedu Mbonu, Chibuzor Mbonu, Ausdith Investments Ltd., and Alamin Industrial Corp.

None replied to the third amended complaint or appeared in court.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain entered a $610 million default judgment, comprised of $27 million in trademark violations and about $583 million in statutory damages award under the CAN-SPAM Act.

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