A California-based spam operation that it is alleged has delivered nearly two million messages to unsuspecting PC users has been shut down by the FTC. Federal and state investigators have halted the spam scheme, which has generated $2.4 million in financial gains for the two defendants in the case, Rick Yang and Peonie Pui Ting Chen.

The FTC said in a statement that the defendants violated the federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 because the emails contained false header information and deceptive subject lines; were not identified as advertisements; failed to tell customers they could opt out of receiving more messages and did not include a physical mail address.

"It's bad enough that spam pollutes our email boxes and invades our privacy, but the consumer protection and economic problems it creates go much deeper," state Attorney General Bill Lockyer said. "Con artists use spam as a high-tech crowbar to open the door to fraud and ID theft. And this computerized junk mail costs businesses billions of dollars every year."