Kenneth Joseph Lucas II Gets 13 Years for Running International Phishing Scam and Indoor Pot Farm

Categories: Crime-iny
UPDATE, JUNE 28, 2 P.M.: Sentences totaling 13 years for convictions in two cases have been given to Kenneth Joseph Lucas II, the "kingpin" of an international "phishing" operation that used spam e-mails and bogus websites to collect personal information used to defraud American banks. The 27-year-old Baldwin Hills man was the most high-profile "get" from "Operation Phish Phry," a multinational investigation conducted in the U.S. and Egypt that led to charges in the fall of 2009 against 100 people--the largest number of defendants ever charged in a cybercrime case--including Me Arlene Settle, 22, of Garden Grove.

United States District Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank in LA sentenced Lucas Friday to 11 years in federal lockup. He previously pleaded guilty to 49 counts of bank and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, computer fraud, and money laundering conspiracy charges.

Fairbank called Lucas' role in the phishing scheme "deliberate and ongoing," said his actions showed an "extreme disregard for the law and the community," and labeled him a "key and active player in the bank fraud" that extended from Southern California to Nevada, North Carolina, Maryland, and overseas in Egypt, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney in LA.

To date, 47 people have been convicted in the federal court in LA as a result of Operation Phish Phry.

But the courts there were not done with Lucas until Monday afternoon, when federal Judge Gary A. Feess sentenced him to five more years for running an indoor marijuana growing operation at his residence. Two of those years will run concurrent with the sentence in the phishing scam, giving him 13 years total behind bars. The U.S. Attorney release said of the narcotics case:

Lucas oversaw the construction of an indoor marijuana grow operation at his residence in 2009. After installing an irrigation system, ventilation equipment, indoor lights and fans, Lucas posted videos on YouTube that showcased the grow operation. On October 7, 2009, authorities found 100 marijuana plants in the grow room, and Lucas admitted to having grown and sold a prior crop, which netted him $45,000.

That's, of course, chump change compared to the phishing scam, which Fairbank ruled had hauled in more than $1 million.

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