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Microsoft Corp. has won a $7-million settlement from a man once billed as one of the world's most prolific spammers. From Associated Press

"People engage in spam to make money," said Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief counsel.  "We have now proven that we can take one of the most profitable spammers in the world and separate him from his money.  And I think that sends a powerful message to other people who might be tempted to engage in illegal spam."

The deal is the second stemming from joint lawsuits that Microsoft and New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer filed in December 2003, after Microsoft set "spam traps" that netted some 8,000 messages containing 40,000 fraudulent statements.  The lawsuits sought as much as $20 million in fines against members of a sprawling spam ring.

In the settlement announced Tuesday, Richter and his company agreed to comply with federal and state laws, including the federal Can Spam Act.  He also agreed to let authorities monitor the business for three years to make sure it does not send any illegal spam.

Attorneys for Richter and, a Westminster, Colo.-based Internet marketing company, did not immediately return calls for comment.

Richter was once ranked as the world's third-most prolific spammer.  Microsoft said his business sent an estimated 38 million spam messages a year.

Internet Scammers Keep Working in Nigeria  By DULUE MBACHU, Associated Press Writer

LAGOS, Nigeria - In Festac Town, an entire community of scammers overnights on the Internet.  By day they flaunt their smart clothes and cars and hang around the Internet cafes, trading stories about successful cons and near misses, and hatching new plots.

Festac Town is where communication specialists operating underground sell foreign telephone lines over which a scammer can purport to be calling from any city in the world.  Here lurk master forgers and purveyors of such software as "e-mail extractors," which can harvest e-mail addresses by the million.  Now, however, a 3-year-old crackdown is yielding results, Nigerian authorities say.

Nuhu Ribadu, head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, says cash and assets worth more than $700 million were recovered from suspects between May 2003 and June 2004.  More than 500 suspects have been arrested, more than 100 cases are before the courts and 500 others are under investigation, he said.

The agency won its first big court victory in May when Mike Amadi was sentenced to 16 years in prison for setting up a Web site that offered juicy but phoney procurement contracts.  Amadi cheekily posed as Ribadu himself and used the agency's name.  He was caught by an undercover agent posing as an Italian businessman.

This month the biggest international scam of all — though not one involving the Internet — ended in court convictions. Amaka Anajemba was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison and ordered to return $25.5 million of the $242 million she helped to steal from a Brazilian bank.  The trial of four co-defendants is to start in September.

Day in, day out, a strapping, amiable 24-year-old who calls himself Kele B. heads to an Internet cafe, hunkers down at a computer and casts his net upon the cyber-waters.  Blithely oblivious to signs on the walls and desks warning of the penalties for Internet fraud, he has sent out tens of thousands of e-mails telling recipients they have won about $6.4 million in a bogus British government "Internet lottery."  "Congratulation! You Are Our Lucky Winner!" it says.  So far, Kele says, he has had only one response. But he claims it paid off handsomely. An American took the bait, he says, and coughed up "fees" and "taxes" of more than $5,000, never to hear from Kele again.  Continued...

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