A US man who masterminded a scheme to make thousands of dollars by sending spam messages that fooled people into believing that their computers were infected by spyware has been fined almost 48,000. Zhijian Chen of Oregon sent the spam along with claims that a product called Spyware Cleaner was the solution. The courts have disagreed with his actions.

A lawsuit filed by Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna stated that Spyware Cleaner falsely claimed that computers were infected in an attempt to encourage PC users to pay $49.95 for a 'fully working' version.

According to court documents, Chen sent out emails and advertisements promoting Spyware Cleaner in exchange for a 75 per cent commission on each sale.