Mikael Sallnert, a Swedish businessman, was sentenced to four years in jail today for aiding a scareware scam that raked in around $71 million by tricking people into downloading bogus anti-virus software.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI arrested Sallnert in Denmark nearly a year ago, after discovering the scareware scam. A statement from the DOJ says that around 960,000 people fell victim to the fraudulent software offer. The scareware used pop ups when a person visited a website to offer free virus scans of their computer. Once the victim accepted the offer, the scareware would lie and say there were a variety of trojans and other malware on the system. Then it would push its fake clean-up software, which would cost victims up to $129.
Sallnert would then push these credit card payments through the correct channels to get the money to the criminals.
“As an established businessman, this defendant put a stamp of legitimacy on cyber criminals,” said U.S. attorney Jenny A. Durkan in a statement. “He was involved in defrauding thousands of victims, and his actions contributed to insecurities in e-commerce that stifle the development of legitimate enterprises and increase the costs of e-commerce for everyone.”
Sallnert will also have to forfeit $650,000 — likely the amount he took from the scam.