Alan Ralsky pleads guilty to stock fraud

In a story by PC World, spam kingpin Alan Ralsky has plead guilty to a stock fraud case where he pumped up Chinese penny stocks:

Ralsky and four other individuals pleaded guilty on Monday, joining three others who had pleaded guilty earlier, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday. Cases are still pending against three other people, they said. The defendants were indicted in the Eastern District of Michigan in 2007.

In 2004 and 2005, the group engaged in a set of related conspiracies to manipulate stocks using false and misleading spam messages. After the spam boosted the trading volume and prices of the thinly traded stocks, the conspirators profited by trading in their shares. Many of the shares were low-priced "pink sheet" stocks for U.S. companies owned by individuals in Hong Kong and China, the DOJ said.

In addition to using false and misleading information in the spam messages, the conspirators created and sent the e-mail using software that made it hard to track the messages back to them, the DOJ said. They also used illegal methods to get around spam blockers and trick recipients into opening and acting on the messages. They falsified the headers, used proxy computers to relay the spam and falsely registered domain names, the DOJ said.

Antispam advocates have long considered Ralsky one of the world's most prolific junk e-mailers, though he has claimed he is a legitimate business operator. He reportedly once admitted sending more than 70 million messages a day.

I can remember this type of spam blitz.  In 2004 and 2005, when I did a lot of spam processing, I can specifically recall doing WHOIS lookups on domains and seeing Alan Ralsky's name being associated with them.  This guy sent a ton of spam and I can't even recall how many domains and IPs of his I was responsible for blocking.

It should come as no surprise that his activities eventually caught up with.  There have been a lot of spammers getting convicted in the past couple of years or getting nailed with huge lawsuits.  It's nice to see Ralsky go down, he was particularly notorious.  70 million per day is a huge number of annoying messages per day.

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