Swedish man jailed for US ‘scareware’ scam

computersA Swedish man has been jailed in the United States after being convicted of taking part in an international ‘scareware’ scandal.

According to a US Department of Justice statement issued at the weekend, the unnamed 37 year old was slapped with four years in prison and was ordered to pay USD 650,000 (EUR 494,000) in forfeiture fees. The ruling came in a Washington state courtroom on Friday, nearly nine months after the man’s extradition to the US following his January arrest in Denmark.

The man had previously confessed to handling illegally-obtained funds in a massive international scam worth an estimated USD 71 million (EUR 54 million). During the scheme, victims’ computers were infected with ‘scareware’ before they were prompted to buy useless anti-virus programmes that claimed to be a cure for the problem.

The investigation was headed by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and also involved authorities in Denmark, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and a number of other countries. Officials said that the crime had affected some 960,000 computer users around the world.

Jenny Durkan said on behalf of the US Attorneys Office following Friday’s sentencing, “Payment processors like this defendant are the backbone of the cybercrime underworld. As an established businessman, this defendant put a stamp of legitimacy on cyber criminals. He was involved in defrauding thousands of victims, and his actions contributed to insecurities in e-commerce that stifle the development of legitimate enterprises and increase the costs of e-commerce for everyone.”

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