back to article Scareware mongers cough up $8m to settle fraud charges

Federal authorities will collect $8 million from members of a scareware operation that duped more than a million people into installing bogus security software on their computers. Marc D'Souza and his father, Maurice D'Souza, agreed to pay $8.2 million in “ill-gotten gains” generated by the scam, which pimped software titles …


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  1. Colin Miller

    Far too low

    So the D'Souzas made around $50 million, and got fined $8.2 million?

    That's low enough to be considered operating costs.

    1. kain preacher

      if caught

      If the can prove that he spent money from their crimes after this conviction it's a new charge. Also the feds can seize all asserts and make him prove that it was bought with legitimate money before getting it back.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One back of an envelope, check. One writing implement, check.

    So, that's "more than a million people" times "40 to 60 dollars each" minus "$8.2 million" makes about "more than 32 to 52 million dollars". Sounds like a viable business model to me.

  3. The Unexpected Bill

    Please, please tell me that....

    ...some of the legal punishment dealt to these people might involve setting some part of them on fire.

    As inappropriately magnetized as my moral compass might be, this kind of scheme makes me incredibly angry at best and sickens me at worst. (Wait until you've seen a senior citizen who thinks they've really screwed up, are very upset or confused as a result and you'll know what I mean.)

    Hopefully there will be some decrease in the frequency of this crap showing up. For the last few months, these have been the most common call I get. Still, I'm not holding my breath.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Confused and upset senior citizens

      Would you like them driving ahead of you on the motorway? Or just upset and confused citizens, regardless of seniority. No? How curious. Yes, apples and oranges, but there's a point to it, and there's more.

      While I agree with your point, I can't be arsed to want to punish for taking advantage of the gullible at all costs. See also: Spanish law requiring a modicum of smarts on the side of the victim before a scam is punishable. This is might well be controversial, even questionable. But there's obviously a practical point to it.

      What I'd rather have is not letting easily confused and upset people /all alone/ on teh intarwebz. We have hooked up enough fools and weirdos to keep all that in check, even if anyone wanted to try. If that means supervision and in-person help until experienced enough to face the 'web unfazed, then so be it. Doesn't matter to me whether it's junior or senior citizens, frankly. Especially since the latter is presumably a passing problem; the next generation of oldsters will have more experience with these newfangled things and though by then possibly just as cranky, possibly less easily dazed and frightened by bogus popups.

    2. C 2


      And its not just senior citizens either! Many people don't get computers all that well, they have other areas of expertise .. and yah some of them are just idiots. Sometimes perfectly competent people are in a hurry and get zapped, it often costs far more in wasted time than "$40 to $60". These a**wipes should have been fined at least 10 times what they were.

      Maybe the punishment should include some mobster style 'incentive' to behave. Various appendages could be removed without anesthesia.

      I despise people who cause this much stress,wasted time and frustration on a daily basis. Its not just a scam, its also extortion.


  4. Johnny Canuck

    This is not a title

    This punishment is in no way a deterrent, if anything its the opposite. As AC pointed out it sure sounds like a viable business model to me and will likely encourage more of this type of thing. A more appropriate punishment would have been to fine them $1000.00 for each paid installation plus estimated costs for removing the crud from people's machines, with some jail time thrown in for good measure.

  5. David Hicks

    Fraud? Settled?

    How the F*CK do you "settle" a fraud charge. After scamming hundreds of thousands of people out of money there should be jail time, total asset seizure and a good faith effort on behalf of the government to return the money to the people who were deferauded.

    Not a fine and a promise to be a good boy from now on.

    Jesus christ...

  6. melior
    Thumb Up

    No, it's not a good business model

    The $8.2 mil is just the D'Souza's share of the restitution.

    If you had clicked through the FTC link and read the actual court judgement, you'd have learned:



    A. Judgment in the amount of $163,167,539.95 is entered against Defendant, jointly

    and severally with any other defendants found liable in this matter. This

    monetary judgment shall become immediately due and payable by Defendant

    upon entry of this Order, and interest computed at the rate prescribed under 28

    U.S.c. § 1961(a), as amended, shall immediately begin to accrue on the unpaid

    balance. "

    1. KarlTh


      I've checked through the link and the linked PDF and can't find any reference to this.

  7. KarlTh


    Found it, eventually.

  8. Jo 5


    personally - having seen this 4 times in my own house (2 infections completely inexplicable and not caused by internet newbies but power users) I would make these guys cut their own balls off with a rusty knife and feed them to pigs at gunpoint.

    Harsh maybe but this kind of crime causes misery for millions.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Work on your skills

      Someone using your computers is incompetent. You should get that person educated, or give them a limited account.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    I promise I will be good when I get caught.

    Now the problem is which crime i will commit.

    Since when has a promise been a punishment!

    On a more serious note, who cashed all these checks for the crooks? Are they not complicit? And

    Where were the tax authorities when all this money was floating about just to be picked up?

    Next time I get persecuted for failing to pay a few pence in tax, can I just promise to try harder next time and settle for 20 per cent.

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