A Las Vegas man has been charged in federal court in San Jose with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a scam known as “cookie stuffing” carried out against eBay Inc. of San Jose.
Christopher Kennedy was charged Tuesday and was summoned to appear before a federal magistrate in San Jose for arraignment on May 13.
Kennedy is accused of creating and selling a computer program that enabled advertisers to deposit fraudulent “cookies,” or Internet messages, on the computers of people who used eBay’s Web site for online auctions.
The fraudulent cookies allegedly enabled advertisers to collect referral fees from eBay for the individuals’ online purchases, even if the computer user hadn’t been directed to eBay by their advertisement, and even if the individual never even saw the advertisement.
Kennedy’s program was called “saucekit” and he sold it through the Web site www.saucekit.com, according to prosecutors.
The charging document alleges that Kennedy posted a note on the Internet in 2008 saying that one of his clients had made almost $10,000 in one month by using the saucekit program.
Prosecutors said in the charges that eBay sent Kennedy a cease-and-desist letter in March 2009, but that the program was still available for purchase in August.
The wire fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison upon conviction.