Russian responsible for global spam scheme pleads not guilty

A 23-year-old Russian man who has been charged with running the Mega-D spamming network refused to plead guilty on Friday in a Wisconsin federal court.

Oleg Y. Nikolaenko appeared in the court in bright orange prison pants and shirt. He was shackled at the ankles. Nikolaenko's attorney entered the plea, while a Russian interpreter translated for him.

Prosecutor Erica O'Neil requested the judge not to grant bail to the Russian spammer as he was a flight risk. The judge agreed Nikolaenko was a flight risk as he had access to cash and he lacked strong ties with Wisconsin or the United States.

According to prosecutors' claims, Nikolaenko masterminded a network which involved placing malicious code on computers around the world to hijack the infected computers to push billions of spam e-mails.

The FBI, which got their first lead a fake Rolex dealer in Kansas, said that the Russian spammer pocketed millions of dollars from firms looking to advertise fake Rolexes and bogus medicines.

The spamming network was so vast that on some days it accounted for one in every three spam e-mails in the world.

The charges against Nikolaenko carry a maximum penalty of 3 years of prison sentence plus a $250,000 fine.