back to article California man jailed for E*Trade skim scam

A man who scammed online brokerages including E*Trade and Charles Schwab by stealing a huge number of tiny test deposits from multiple accounts was jailed for 15 months on Thursday. Michael Largent, 22, of Plumas Lake, California, was also ordered to pay $200,073 in compensation to his victims after pleading guilty to two …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think somebody is confused about the definition. If another person gives you free money, that isn't stealing.

  2. Christopher Martin

    Maybe I'm being unreasonable, but...

    1. Brokerages set up a system that pays ~$1 to new account holders.

    2. Guy abuses brokerages' systems 58,000 times, while they fail to notice for ~6 months.

    3. FBI and Secret Service, paid for by me, the humble taxpayer, hunt this guy down.

    4. Scammer pays brokerages in the order of 4 times the amount he received.

    Note who lost money and who netted money in this scenario.

    Now, I know that a society needs to band together to protect victims from criminals. But if you run a web service that automatically makes payments to whoever signs up... shouldn't you personally bear some of the burden of making sure you don't accidentally transfer $50k to one guy?

  3. Flugal


    I don't really see what is so illegal about this. He was simply exploiting their technique for confirming accounts.

  4. Ondrej Doubek

    Justice IS blind!

    Only in the wrong way. I doubt that judge had the slightest understanding for the matter or at least enough background information when passing that judgment.

    The smart boy deserves a slap on the rist for being cheesy, no question. But no more.

    I would like to see what law he actually broke doing what he did! Impersonating somebody else? Then 80% of all internet users would be crime offenders!

    Instead he is executed for making the lords ridiculous.

    An 'execution' is at least what that fine comes down to when looking at how dept of that size will destroy the young fellas future. (unless he has rich parents)

    The real responsibles are the ones who implemented flawed processes combined with a lack of appropriate security measures. Their registration process virtually called for being abused.

    What's even worse, they failed to monitor and maintain their systems with due diligence, in a highly sensitive area! (that I believe the financial sector to be) Else they would have noticed in a matter of days, not month.

    They should at least pay a heft fine, and get a court ordered deadline to fix those flaws! Instead they get rewarded for their stupidity.

    What's the message for the rest of us, apart from "Don't mess with the big guys!" ? (nothing new there)

    Guess its:

    "Unless it's not explicitly encouraged, it's forbidden!"

    I believe in law school they teach You something else... But what's that worth, anyways.

    I rest my case, then.

  5. Alan Brown 1

    He would have gotten away with it if it.....

    ...if he hadn't targeted a small number of companies.

    There are a huge number of scammers running salami-slicing gigs and police invariably refuse to handle the complaints, let alone investigate them.

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