Three people indicted in $100m scareware operation

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Three people indicted in $100m scareware operation

Authorities attempt to reclaim cash from Ukrainian bank.

US federal prosecutors have filed charges against three men for tricking internet user into buying over $100 million of fake security software.

The three men are alleged to have set up a company called Innovative Marketing, which sold software such as 'DriveCleaner' and 'ErrorSafe,' for around US$50 per user (AU$59). The software, dubbed scareware by security experts, scans a user's system, purports to have found malware and then offers to remove it for a price.

Bjorn Daniel Sundin, 31, a U.S. citizen believed to be living in the Ukraine; Shaileshkumar P. Jain, 40, a Swedish citizen thought to be living in Sweden; and James Reno, 26, of Amelia, Ohio, are accused of creating several fake advertising agencies that booked AU$100,000 (US$85,000) worth of legitimate space - which was never paid for.

Users clicking on the adverts were redirected to a web site which initiated the scareware selling process. The trio are also alleged to have used the adverts to sell fake pharmaceuticals and have each been formally charged with one charge of computer fraud and conspiracy to commit computer fraud as well as multiple counts of wire fraud.

If found guilty they face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a US$250,000 (AU$295,000) fine for each case of wire fraud. The authorities are seeking to recover the profits from an Ukrainian bank.

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