AG REILLY SHUTS DOWN 250 WEBSITES TIED TO INTERNET SPAM GANG, OBTAINS ADDITIONAL COURT ORDER AGAINST ILLEGAL SPAMMERS
May 23, 2005
BOSTON An estimated 250 illegal websites operated by a sophisticated ring of "spammers" using unsolicited, deceptive emails to lure consumers into buying unapproved counterfeit drugs, pirated software and pornography no longer exist in cyberspace, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced today.
The demise of the websites is a direct result of a May 11 lawsuit AG Reilly filed accusing Leo Kuvayev and six individuals with Massachusetts ties of running an elaborate spam operation in violation of state and federal consumer protection laws. Attorneys from AG Reillys Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division also sought and obtained an emergency court order effectively shutting down hundreds of websites operated by members of the "Internet Spam Gang." Today, attorneys from AG Reillys Office were back in court arguing to keep the operators of this complicated web of Internet sites out of cyberspace.
"Annoying email is one thing, but these 'spammers' were peddling unapproved, counterfeit drugs to the public and sending messages with blind links to sexually explicit websites," AG Reilly said. "The spam distributed by members of the Internet Spam Gang threatened public safety."
The court order, granted today by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Ralph D. Gants, puts Kuvayev, the other defendants, and two Internet companies out of business indefinitely. Kuvayev, the ring-leader, lists a Newton address as his residence, and he and his associates use a Boston post office box address for their business operations.
The defendants named in AG Reillys suit include Kuvayev, Vladislav Khokholkov, Anna Orlova, Pavel Tkachuk, Michelle Marco, Dennis Nartikoev, Pavel Yashin and two companies: 2K Services, Ltd., and Ecash Pay, Ltd. All of these individuals, according to the complaint, have worked in some capacity for either 2K Services or Ecash Pay, which are unincorporated and list the same Massachusetts post office box address as their place of business.
According to AG Reillys complaint, Kuvayevs scheme involves a complicated web of Internet sites and domain names selling a variety of illegal products including counterfeit drugs, pirated software, pornography, mortgage loans and phony designer watches. While the exact number of emails the defendants have sent out is unknown, they are likely responsible for disseminating hundreds of millions of unsolicited messages to consumers and businesses in Massachusetts and across the United States. Through the use of trap email accounts, set up for the express purpose of determining the names and identity of spammers, Microsoft officials collected more than 45,000 spam messages believed to be from the Internet Spam Gang between June 12 and July 4, 2004.
The Internet Spam Gangs operations have been tracked to Russia and other countries overseas, with domain names registered in Monaco, Australia and France, and computer servers located in China, Korea, Brazil and Taiwan. Investigators used a variety of tools to track down the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and web hosting companies the spammers use to post and maintain many of their websites.
AG Reilly has filed a series of enforcement actions targeting illegal activity on the Internet. In July, he filed the first state enforcement action under the federal CAN-SPAM Act against a Florida man accused of using a business address in Newton, where the company owner had no physical presence, to send thousands of misleading emails a business address in Newton. AG Reilly successfully settled that case last fall, prohibiting the business owner, William T. Carson of Florida and D.C. Enterprises, from sending illegal spam and requiring him to pay $25,000 in penalties to the state. AG Reilly's Corruption, Fraud and Computer Crime Division investigates and prosecutes crimes from computer hacking to online scams that defraud consumers and businesses. The unit also helps protect the safety of our children as they "surf the net" by targeting online predators
Assistant Attorneys General Thuy Wagner and Scott Schafer of AG Reillys Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division are handling this case with assistance from Eric Funk in AG Reillys Investigations Division and paralegal Kasey Lindsey.
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