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'King Of Spam' Under Arrest

A 23-year-old Russian who the FBI alleges controlled computers that generated about one-third of the world's spam -- 10 billion e-mails a day -- is under arrest.

Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel reports that Oleg Nikolaenko's activities had been monitored by Milwaukee FBI agent Brett Banner, other FBI agents and investigators from the Federal Trade Commission. He allegedly set up a robot network, or "botnet," that investigators call Mega-D to send out e-mails with false return addresses on behalf of clients selling counterfeit goods and shady services.

He's accused of violating the CAN-SPAM Act, which among other things requires that businesses use accurate e-mail addresses and correctly identify who is sending the messages.

Nikolaenko was arrested during a visit to Las Vegas last month. His attorney, Christopher Van Wagner, tells the Journal Sentinelthat the Russian will "present a rigorous defense."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.