A European watchdog group has hit two individuals said to be responsible for millions of SMS spam messages with a £440,000 (just over $700,000 USD) fine. Christopher Niebel and Gary McNeish reportedly told clients they could send out over 800,000 texts a day on their behalf. They catered to businesses questionable in their own right: BBC News reveals Niebel and McNeish were often employed by claims management companies on the hunt for injury claims that could be forwarded to lawyers.

They maxed out 70 SIM cards per day

According to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) responsible for handing down the fine, evidence shows the pair had burned through 70 SIM cards every day as it bombarded UK residents with text messages. Each SIM was placed into a card reader and used for spam purposes until its SMS limit had been reached. The work proved lucrative for Niebel and McNeish — operating under the name Tetrus Telecoms — as they reportedly took in £7,000 (around $11,000) each day. As you'd expect, both men insist that the ICO has it all wrong, claiming they'd obtained the necessary consent to contact users directly. This marks the first time the ICO has demanded such a fine for SMS spam, a growing epidemic across the wireless industry that has necessitated tighter regulations in the US.