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mobsters clean up on porn

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    Mobsters clean up on porn

    By Fran Spencer

    SCUTTLE BYTES

    IF TRYING to explain those damning charges on your credit card account to your significant other wasn't enough of a deterrent.

    According to reports out of the US, thousands of internet users who thought they were supporting honest private enterprise by perusing porn sites were actually funnelling millions of dollars to the Mob.

    Apparently, an enterprising bunch consisting of a genuine Sopranos-style mobster, two executives and five companies managed to squeeze $US230 million out of porn fans by running fake "free tours" of adult entertainment websites.

    In reality, the thousands of one-handed surfers who thought they were getting a free squiz at the saucy material were being hit for $US60 a month.

    Surprisingly gullible internet users were asked to provide their credit card information for "free visits" (you'd think that would've rung a few warning bells) and then found it was almost impossible to leave the websites.

    Some apparently found the "go back" button on their browser was disabled, while others couldn't find an exit button and racked up fees.

    Mobster Richard Martino was charged with funnelling more than $US8 million of the proceeds to a high-ranking member of the Gambino crime family, not known for its cordial relations with the US Attorney's office.

    Online porn connected with unsavoury characters and hidden charges - who'd have thought it?


    AND still on the war - against the advice of Basil Fawlty - Scutts was interested to note the Iraq conflict doesn't seem to have inspired the usual online feeding frenzy.

    As of last week, interested parties could still pick up the domain name www.tonyblair.com for a piffling $US6000, or the more elusive www.saddamhussein.com for the bargain basement rate of $US8000.

    However, www.war.com is already owned by US-based What Are Records, which notes on its site it no longer wishes to be associated with the word "war" and is changing its address.

 
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