Matthew Schmeider, a 24-year old unemployed painter from Pittsburgh, has admitted to a Tsunami Phishing Scam that saw him send more than 800,000 e-mails purporting to be from a charity appealing for funds for victims of the Asian tsunami, with the money going instead into his personal account. He claims that he needed the money to settle debts, but that he would have passed some of the money on to legitimate charities.

Schmeider, the first American to be arrested in connection with a tsunami scam, was charged with fraud and released on bail of $25,000. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing next week.