FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- An Illinois federal judge has put out of business two South Florida men accused of sending millions of illegal spam text messages, officials say.
Daniel Pessin, 26, and Jacob Engel, 25, both of Fort Lauderdale, were ordered to pay a $377,321 fine and turn over two frozen bank accounts to the Federal Trade Commission, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Wednesday.
The men were accused of sending more than 42.5 million spam text messages that allegedly lured recipients to give money and personal information that was used by third parties.
The FTC charged the men's company, Rentbro, sent text messages to millions of consumers informing them they had won $1,000 gift cards to major retailers.
Consumers were guided to a website where they were instructed to provide personal information in order to receive the cards. They were then told they had to sign up for a number of trial offers.
Entering pleas before U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman of the Northern District of Illinois, Pessin and Engel did not admit guilt, but agreed to stop the spam messages.