The Massachusetts Attorney General's office announced it filed suit and an injunction to stop an alleged spam ring with operations around the globe, officials announced at a press conference Wednesday.

Officials say seven individuals violated the CAN-SPAM Act and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act when they sent hundreds of millions of spam messages promoting counterfeit Windows software and prescription drugs, as well as messages peddling pornography and mortgage advertisements.

Named in the lawsuit obtained by is Leo Kuvayev, Vladislav Khokholkov (which may be an alias for Kuvayev), Anna Orlova, Pavel Tkachuk, Michelle Marco, Dennis Nartikoev and Pavel Yashin; lawyers maintain the seven conducted their illegal activities in Massachusetts through two companies, 2K Services and Ecash Pay, which was also named in the complaint.

According to officials, the spam ring operated out of the Boston area and Russia, using domain names registered around the world. The suit lists dozens of Web sites managed by the seven named individuals through Web hosting companies Direct NIC, Rackspace, Namebay, Melbourne IT and Ghandi. Also mentioned were offshore Web hosts in China, Korea and Brazil.

Tom Reilly, Massachusetts attorney general, said the whereabouts of Kuvayev, who he considers the ringleader of the operation, are unknown, but they wanted to get the injunction and complaint filed and approved to shut down the operation immediately to protect Internet users. A judge granted the attorney's office emergency shut down order Wednesday afternoon.

''This is clearly the largest [operation] we have seen, that my staff has seen,'' Reilly said. ''What alarmed us is when we saw the access to drugs -- where people were unwittingly and naively buying these believing they were real. When we saw that, we moved quickly to shut it down.''

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