Charged "scareware" crook no stranger to scams, and a fugitive

One of the recently charged trio behind ‘scareware’ antivirus knock-off software which raked in over $100 million USD, Sam Jain, was already a wanted fugitive in the US with a history of scams behind him.

The floggers of scareware preyed on the fear of the naive webuser by selling kit to fix fake and fradulently reported problems, which the downloadee would pay for online via credit card straight into European bank accounts. The CEO of the company “Innovative Marketing,” Shaileshkuma “Sam” Jain, had given US authorities the slip in 2008 on counts of selling counterfeit versions of Symantec’s anti-virus kit. He had been considered a fugitive by the US since early 2009 when he skipped on a $250,000 bond and didn’t bother to show up for a court appearance, reports PC World.

Veteran internetters may recall that there is more evidence to suggest that Jain is a nasty piece of work. He ran an affiliate ad company called eFront which was around for the dot com boom, which once hosted a network of websites including popular comedy site Something Awful and webcomic PennyArcade.

His old scheme back in the early noughties had him signing up webmasters to join his affiliate ad network eFront which he would then serve adds from. Webmasters would find the occasional cheque in the post and got paid in stock options. According to the Something Awful forums, eFront realised the only thing to do when it realised it was losing cash was to commit fraud: contracts allegedly were re-negotiated without webmaster’s consent. No one saw cash from the advert clicks anymore, and there was hardly a thing webmasters could do as eFront technically had control over the websites.

Jain was taking the profits. SomethingAwful’s side of the story is here (towards the bottom and not work safe for language) while the PennyArcade side of the story can be found here.  This is the same Jain that, way back in 2001, confessed to screwing over his clients in leaked company ICQ chat logs. At one point Jain suggests that to play hardball with a disgruntled client it may be worth it to “rape her and spit on her”.

The full leaked ICQ chatlogs are still available online here  with the CNET article from 2001 free to view here. Jain’s Wikipedia page which mentions his dodgy past can be found here.

Some of the community at Something Awful are talking about schadenfreude and justice at last against the serial scammer. However, poster Gherkin Jerkin replies: “So none of these heels are currently in jail and Sam Jain is currently living in a country that has no official extradition treaty with the US. Do you know what schadenfreude actually means?”

Jain is not in US custody and is thought to be living in Ukraine.