Spammer Pleads Guilty to Stock Fraud, Faces 7 Years in Prison

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Alan Ralsky, a West Bloomfield, Michigan native, has pleaded guilty to allegations of wire and mail frauds, money laundering, and of violating the CAN-SPAM Act. As a result, Raslky faces up to 7 years in prison.

"Alan Ralsky was at one time the world's most notorious illegal spammer," said U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg . "Today Ralsky, his son-in-law Scott Bradley, and three of their co-conspirators stand convicted for their roles in running an international spamming operation that sent billions of illegal email advertisements to pump up Chinese 'penny' stocks and then reap profits by using trades in these same stocks while others bought at the inflated price."

In addition to duping recipients with falsified emails, the conspirators used software that made their messages hard to track, used illegal methods to get around spam blockers, falsified headers, and used proxy computers to relay the spam and falsely registered domain names, according to the Department of Justice. Their efforts reportedly brought in over $3 million.

While many of cases are still spending, Scott Bradley, Ralsky's 38-year-old son-in-law, pleaded guilty to the same charges and faces up to 78 months in prison and $1 million fine. John Brown, 45, of Fresno California, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, of violating the CAN-SPAM Act, and conspiracy to commit computer fraud. Brown faces up to 63 months in prison and $75,000 fine. William Neil, 46, also of Fresno, California, and James Fite, 36, of Culver City, California, both pleaded guilty in the case. They, along with everyone else involved, will be sentenced on October 29, 2009.

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