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Michael Bradley - A failed attempt to blackmail Google

According to the criminal complaint, which was unsealed in San Jose in March 2004, Michael Bradley attempted to defraud and extort money from Google by developing a software program that automates fraudulent "clicks" on "cost-per-click" advertisements utilized by Google. Bradley said he would sell the software to spammers if Google did not pay him about $150,000. He was arrested in March and unsuccessfully pled not guilty to the charges (extortion and wiretap fraud) against him.

A federal grand jury in San Jose returned an indictment at the end of June 2004, charging him with one count of interfering with commerce by threats and 10 counts of wire fraud.


  • June 25, 2004: Cullen, Drew, Man charged over Google blackmail attempt, The Register:
    A California man who claimed to have software which automatically clicked on Google cost-per-click ads has been charged with extortion and wiretap fraud.

  • June 25, 2004: Schuldspruch für Google Erpresser,
    "Der Programmierer Michael Bradley der Google im März dieses Jahres zur Zahlung einer größeren Geldsumme wollte, wurde von einem Geschworenengericht wegen erpresserischer Handlungen und wegen Betrugs für schuldig befunden."

  • June 24, 2004, Man indicted in Google fraud scheme, ZDNet:
    A California man was arraigned on Thursday on federal extortion and wire fraud charges arising from a software program he claimed could allow spammers to defraud Web search company Google Inc. of millions of dollars, federal prosecutors said.


Also see the Criminal Complaint and the United States Attorney Northern District of California Press Release: Computer Programmer Arrested for Extortion and Mail Fraud Scheme Targeting Google, Inc.



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