Missouri Brothers Indicted In $4 Million Spam Scheme

    April 30, 2009

Two Missouri men and their two accomplices have been indicted by a federal grand jury for a nationwide email spamming scheme that targeted more than 2,000 colleges and universities.

Through the spamming scheme more than $4 million worth of products were sold to students, according to Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Amir Ahmad Shah, 28 of St. Louis, his brother, Osmaan Ahmad Shah, 25, of Columbia, Mo., their business, I20, Liu Guang Ming, of China, and Paul Zucker, 55 of Wayne, N.J. were charged in a 51-count indictment by a federal grand jury in Kansas City,Mo.

Matt J. Whitworth
Matt J. Whitworth

"Nearly every college and university in the United States was impacted by this scheme," Whitworth said. "Illegal hacking and e-mail spamming wreaks havoc on computer networks."

"These schools spent significant funds to repair the damage and to implement costly preventive measures to defend themselves against future intrusions. We take computer crimes seriously and will aggressively prosecute those who violate the federal CAN-SPAM Act."

According to the indictment, the Shahs, typically sent millions of spam messages through the computer network at the University of Missouri, where Osmann Shah is a student. The university’s network was damaged from the large amount of network resources and bandwidth used during the sending of spam through its system.

"The University of Missouri has worked closely alongside our office throughout this investigation," Whitworth said. "We appreciate their partnership and cooperation, which has been instrumental in bringing this case to indictment."

The Shahs allegedly made money from the spam campaigns by earning a referral fee for sending spam for products and services sold by others, or by buying products in bulk themselves and then selling those products.