MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A citizen of Russia who was charged in Milwaukee with running a major worldwide computer spamming network has avoided prison time in a plea deal.
Newly-released documents show that 25-year-old Oleg Nikolaenko agreed last June to plead guilty to new charges that would have netted him 9 years in prison.
But eventually, prosecutors agreed to limit his jail time to the 27 months he served since his arrest. And he’ll spend the next 3 years on probation.
Authorities said Nikolaenko’s network placed malicious codes on a half-million U.S. computers, and then sent out billions of e-mails selling things like fake Viagra and counterfeit Rolex watches.
On some days, officials said the network accounted for a-third of the world’s unwanted e-mails.
A Milwaukee FBI agent cracked the case, after a Kansas City man complained of having to spend $2 million to advertise fake watches on the network.
Nikolaenko was arrested in the fall of 2010 in Las Vegas, where he was attending a car show. But no others came forward to complain – and officials did not consider restitution.