KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 29 (UPI) -- A federal grand jury in Missouri has indicted a group of defendants over a nationwide e-mail spamming case that targeted college students, U.S. officials said.
Federal authorities said Wednesday the scheme, which sold more than $4 million worth of products to college students, victimized more than 2,000 colleges and universities.
In a statement, the U.S. Justice Department said Amir Ahmad Shah, 28, of St. Louis., his brother, Osmaan Ahmad Shah, 25, of Columbia, Mo., their business, I2O Inc., Liu Guang Ming, a citizen of China, and Paul Zucker, 55, of Wayne, N.J., were charged.
The Shahs allegedly developed e-mail extracting programs, which they used to harvest more than 8 million student e-mail addresses from more than 2,000 colleges and universities. The database of e-mail addresses was then used to allegedly send targeted spam e-mails selling various products and services to those students.
Their 51-count indictment was under seal in Kansas City.
"Nearly every college and university in the United States was impacted by this scheme," said Acting U.S. Attorney Matt Whitworth. "Illegal hacking and e-mail spamming wreaks havoc on computer networks. These schools spent significant funds to repair the damage and to implement costly preventive measures to defend themselves against future intrusions."