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Botnet Operator Pleads Guilty

Robert Matthew Bentley, 21, Panama City, Florida, has plead guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and computer fraud.

Bentley was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pensacola, Florida in November 2007. The case originated in December 2006 when the London Metropolitan Police ("The Met") Computer Crime Unit requested assistance from the United States Secret Service after European representatives of the United States-based "Newell Rubbermaid" Corporation and at least one other European-based company contacted The Met to report a computer intrusion against the companies' European networks.

Bentley agreed to a detailed factual summary filed at the time of his guilty plea outlining his role in the computer intrusions. Bentley and other unnamed co-conspirators infected hundreds of computers in Europe with "adware" that cost tens of thousands of dollars to detect and neutralize. Bentley and others received payment through a Western European-based operation called "Dollar Revenue" for unauthorized intrusions and placement of the adware. Bentley used computers in the Northern District of Florida to accomplish the intrusions and to receive payment.

Bentley is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Richard Smoak on May 28, 2008. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of supervised release for each charge. He must pay a special monetary assessment of $100 for each charge.

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