James Ancheta aka "Resjames" or "Botmaster" pleaded quilty in Los Angeles yesterday for running a botnet and selling bots.
He faces up to six years in prison. He will also have to pay restitution and give back about $60,000 and his BMW, bought with botnet money.
Ancheta was active in 2004. With another bot herder known as "SoBe", they infected more than 400,000 computers.
They were making money by selling bots to spammers, and by signing up as affiliates in adware install programs run by Gammacash and Loudcash (both are owned by 180Solutions nowadays). This way they earned money every time they installed an adware program to an infected machine.
James Ancheta seems to be offline nowadays, but you can still find some of his old forum posts via Google. In this thread he has just rented a dedicated server from Sagonet, which he then used to run the irc server to control his bots.
The court papers make a fascinating read, with snippets like these: