The 'Spam King': By the numbers

A 23-year-old stands accused of generating almost a third of the world's spam email. Here's how his funny business adds up

The Spam King's flood of emails hawked "herbal remedies," erectile dysfunction drugs and counterfeit prescriptions.
(Image credit: CC BY: Tesla Aldrich)

The FBI says that one man, Oleg Nikolaenko, has been responsible for nearly a third of the world's spam in recent years. Nikolaenko, aka the "Spam King," is the alleged Russian mastermind behind the "Mega-D" spam botnet, a network of infected computers used to send out junk emails. At its height, the botnet infected hundreds of thousands of computers and generated billions of spam emails hawking counterfeit goods each day. Nikolaenko was arraigned before a Milwaukee court on Friday and pleaded not guilty. Here's a look at the case by the numbers:


Age of the accused, Oleg Nikolaenko. "He looks like a kid you find in a basement munching nachos and playing Wii," says his attorney, Christopher Van Wagner.

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About 509,000

Number of personal computers Nikolaenko is charged with infecting and exploiting as a source of spam emails using Mega-D


Number of those computers located in Wisconsin, where Nikolaenko was arraigned

10 billion

Estimated number of spam emails per day that infected computers were capable of sending out at the height of the operation


Minimum number of spam emails that one has to send per day to violate the 2003 federal CAN-SPAM Act

32 percent

Portion of the world's spam for which Mega-D was once responsible, according to prosecutors


Amount Nikolaenko allegedly received in 2007 for six months work sending out emails hawking "herbal remedies," erectile disfunction drugs, and counterfeit prescriptions. He was reportedly paid that amount by two convicted spammers who told the FBI they often worked with Russians.


Amount of cash Nikolaenko was holding when arrested last month in Las Vegas (he was attending a car show)


Number of passports he had with him at the time


Year the FBI began tracking Nikolaenko after being "tipped off" by an e-retailer who sold counterfeit watches; the latter claimed to have paid spammers $2 million to help him market his phony goods

3 years

Maximum length of the prison sentence Nikolaenko faces if convicted


Amount he could be fined

Sources: Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Moscow News, Wall Street Journal, International Business Times

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