Computer Crime Research Center


$84K fine for computer crime

Date: April 20, 2006
By: Frank Washkuch Jr.

Zhijan Chen, of Portland, was fined after a five-month investigation by Washington State's attorney general's Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit found Chen promoted Secure Computer's Spyware Cleaner to PC users across the U.S. in messages that faked system warnings.

Chen was the first person to be prosecuted under the state's 2005 Computer Spyware Act.

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna cautioned other deceptive marketers this week.

"Let this be a warning to other online advertisers – when you attempt to harm or deceive, you will pay in Washington. We will not tolerate those who try to profit by preying on consumer's fears of spyware and other malware," he said. "Chen made thousands of dollars by sending invasive messages intended to mislead consumers into believing their computers were infected with a dangerous virus and that Secure Computer's software was the fix. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth."

Chen is the first defendant to be sentenced or fined in the state's case against New York-based Secure Computer and other associates in the U.S. and India.
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