Daniel Lin, of Detroit, is likely to face a prison sentence of at least two years if he pleads guilty to sending millions of emails in April 2005 from hacked computers belonging to the Ford Motor Company, Amoco, Unisys, the U.S. Army Information Center and the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.
Together with three other men, he stands accused of sending spam emails selling bogus diet aids, herbal remedies and illegally imported erectile dysfunction drugs.
Lin has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors which will result in a sentence of between two years and 57 months in prison. Before making the agreement, Lin would have faced up to five years in prison on each of the two spam counts and up to 10 years on an unrelated gun charge.
According to records produced by the authorities, the gang of four men generated more than $100,000, selling more than 100 orders a week for at least five months. Among the goods sold was a herbal weight loss patch sold for about $62 that officials claim did not work.
"Spammers clog the internet with unwanted messages, making life harder for everyone with an email address and peddling bogus goods to the unwary. They also don't balk at exploiting the computers of innocent people and companies to relay their unwanted spam onto other computer users," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Weight-loss products are just one of many goods plugged by spammers, but many computer users faced by the growing tide of spam will probably like to see spammers go on a diet of bread-and-water."