Tech

The Russian Fraud king was imprisoned for 10 years… he led an Electronic Army

A Russian man convicted of fraud and money laundering charges for his role in the digital advertising scheme Methbot has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The Ministry of Justice said that between September 2014 and December 2016, Alexander Zhukov and several conspirators made deals with advertising networks to place online advertisements .

But they used a bot farm and rented servers to simulate users visiting spoofed versions of websites like the New York Times and New York Daily News.

The ads were never shown to human users. But Zhukov earned $7 million in a scam to fake Internet traffic. Which became known as Methbot after his fake ad network Media Methane, according to the Department of Justice.

“Sitting at a computer keyboard in Bulgaria and Russia, U.S. Attorney Bron Pace said in a statement, he boldly devised and executed a sophisticated multi-million dollar cyber fraud against the digital advertising industry. Thousands of companies in the United States have been victims. This prompted companies to pay inflated advertising prices.

As part of the detailed plan, Zhukov hired programmers and other people to help build the infrastructure that made the scheme possible. And 1,900 servers were used to generate millions of fake views of online ads.

Zhukov earned $7 million running the operation and transferred the money to offshore banks around the world.

The United States said companies such as Pepsi, charities and other advertisers were charging them inflated prices due to digital bots viewing ads.

Prosecutors said Zhukov and co-conspirators in Russia and Kazakhstan corrupted a complex and vulnerable online advertising ecosystem by using rented servers in Dallas and Amsterdam to circumvent fraud protection and simulate the online activity of millions of people viewing online ads.

Zhukov took a stand during the three-week trial, claiming that he had never misled anyone. And I think it was giving the industry what it wanted, which was a way to drive traffic to the site for a cheap, if artificial, cost.

Authorities said he referred to the contractors as his developers and to himself as the fraud king. In May, a jury found Zhukov guilty of conspiracy to defraud, electronic fraud and conspiracy to launder money.

Zhukov was arrested in Bulgaria in 2018 and extradited to New York. In addition to the 10-year prison sentence, Zhukov was ordered to pay $3.8 million in confiscatio

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