How the “Original Internet Godfather” walked away from his cyber crime past

Enlarge / Brett Johnson tears up when he mentions the FBI special agent who helped him quit online fraud. (credit: Dionysios Demetis)

This article was originally published on The Conversation. An audio version of the interview is available there. It has been lightly edited.

It’s 7:00am, and I’m driving down Hull city centre to pick up Brett Johnson, known in cyberspace by the alias Gollumfun and dubbed the “Original Internet Godfather” by the US Secret Service.

Johnson was on the notorious US Most Wanted list in 2006 before being arrested for cyber crime and laundering US$4m. I’ve never met anyone whose name has been on that list, and so our encounter comes with some level of subliminal intimidation. Turns out, he’s both casual and friendly, and I’m keeping an open mind.

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