Trio indicted in massive email theft, spam scheme

Three men allegedly participated in a scheme to steal email addresses from email marketing firms and used them to send spam to tens of millions of people, sometimes hawking bogus products, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Atlanta said Friday in announcing indictments against the trio.

The marketing firms, known as email service providers, weren’t named but at least two are in north Georgia, Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a press call.

He laid out the alleged scheme:

Between 2009 and 2012, Viet Quoc Nguyen of Vietnam allegedly used targeted phishing attacks launched against employees of email marketers to gain access to at least eight companies’ systems.

Once inside those networks, Nguyen allegedly stole email addresses and used those marketers’ platforms to send massive amounts of spam. Prosecutors said he was helped by Giang Hoang Vu, also of Vietnam.

The third man indicted, David-Manuel Santos Da Silva, of Montreal, allegedly helped market the team’s efforts and laundering the money.

The group received about $2 million as a result of the arrangement, according to the indictments.

Santos Da Silva, 33, was arrested at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport last month and indicted on Wednesday. Indictments against Quoc Nguyen and Hoang Vu were unsealed this week.

Vu was arrested in the Netherlands in 2012 and extradited to the United States a year ago. He recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and is to be sentenced on April 21,

Nguyen is a fugitive.

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