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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Alabama

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

“Cookie Stuffing" Internet Fraud Schemer Pleads Guilty

United States Attorney Kenyen R. Brown of the Southern District of Alabama announced that Jody Michael Smith, a resident of Oregon, entered a guilty plea today before United States District Court Judge Kristi DuBose to a one-count Information charging conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Smithadmitted that he andothers operated a fraud scheme, commonly known as “cookie stuffing,” using affiliate marketing programs.  They created “forced clicks” by unsuspecting web shoppers, which allowed Smith and members of the conspiracy to receive commissions for sales they did not generate, thus defrauding legitimate advertisers and the company paying for the advertising. 1. This was done primarily through Linkshare Corporation and Google, to victimize Fareportal, Inc.

Smith faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The matter was investigated by the Mobile Field Office of the U.S. Secret Service and was prosecuted by AUSA Deborah Griffin.

1. Affiliate marketing is internet performance-based marketing which, by using an individual’s websites or advertisements, directs traffic to another website in the “network” and receives credit for either pay per click (PPC) or pay per action (PPA) if the user travels to the website.  

Updated January 26, 2015