A Las Vegas man will be sentenced in federal court in San Jose in November for carrying out a crime known as "cookie stuffing" against the online auction site eBay.
Christopher Kennedy, 28, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge James Ware on Thursday to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud. He will be sentenced by Ware on Nov. 1.
U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said Kennedy admitted in the plea that he created and sold a cookie-stuffing program on his website between January and November 2009.
The program was known as "saucekit."
According to documents filed by prosecutors, the program enabled advertisers to deposit fraudulent "cookies," or Internet code, on the computers of people who used San Jose-based eBay's website for online auctions.
The cookies fraudulently gave the advertisers credit for bringing about the computer users' online purchases, even if the computer user hadn't been directed to eBay by their advertisement, and even if the computer user never even saw the advertisement.
As a result, advertisers that used the saucekit program were able to collect referral fees from eBay to which they were not entitled.
The wire fraud conviction carries a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a possible restitution order, but the actual penalty will be determined after consideration of federal sentencing guidelines.
Kennedy was charged with the crime in February. He is currently free on a $50,000 bond while awaiting sentencing.