Secret Service Stings 2 Spammers

Matt O'Conner
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Two men are under arrest after allegedly charging a U.S. Secret Service informant $6,500 and striking a profit-sharing deal to send 50,000 pieces of bulk email to 1.2 million AOL subscribers.

Adam Vitale of Boynton Beach, Fla., and Todd Moeller of New Jersey are both in custody facing federal charges.

Vitale, known in the spam-monitoring community as Batch1 and Baxter, and Moeller, also known as M3rk, are mentioned in multiple entries in the Spamhaus.org Register Of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) Database dating back several years, and both have extensive profiles on TheSpamDiaries.org blog.

The men have been accused by spam watchers of peddling everything from software to impotency drugs. They are accused of being associated with the LifeSmile.biz spam affiliate program, blacklisted by many security firms for its large-scale spamming operation using hosting sites and DNS servers in China and South America.

According to a report in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, U.S. Secret Service agents used a confidential informant to hire Vitale and Moeller to deliver spam advertising a computer security product.

Vitale and Moeller charged the informant $6,500 up front to purchase computer equipment they said was necessary to get the job done. According to court documents, Moeller allegedly also struck a deal in which he would have netted half the proceeds of the sale, including a lump payment of $40,000 from initial profits.