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Fifty Million Fraudulent E-Mails Net Los Angeles Pair Two Years in Prison


January 3, 2001

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Two men received two-year prison terms for sending a blizzard of 50 million e-mails as part of a scam that overwhelmed the largest U.S. Internet providers.

Steve Shklovskiy and Yan Shtok, both 23, also must pay more than $100,000 US in restitution for their role in the September 1999 scheme, authorities said Tuesday. The men were sentenced Dec. 27, just over a year after they pleaded guilty to fraud charges. Two others were sentenced to probation in July.

Authorities said Shklovskiy and Shtok devised a way to use personal computers equipped with commercially available software to "harvest" electronic mail addresses.

They then sent a mass e-mailing, asking recipients for a $35 "processing fee" in exchange for a chance to work at home stuffing envelopes.

More than 12,000 people were duped. Internet providers, including AOL, AT&T and Mindspring, were besieged by customer complaints and their systems were threatened by the overload.

The plea agreements require the men to reveal to the Internet providers how they accomplished their scheme.

© 2001, The Canadian Press


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