Even if you don’t know the name Sanford Wallace, you’ve received email from him. Often referred to as “the Spam King” due to his career choice, Wallace is now facing federal fraud charges for compromising the Facebook accounts of about 500,000 users and sending more than 27 million spam messages through Facebook’s servers.
Wallace surrendered to agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Thursday, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag announced. He was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond, pending property posting, and ordered to obey all civil orders including not accessing MySpace or Facebook. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 22 before U.S. District Court Judge Edward J. Davila.
Wallace is accused violating restraining orders issued by Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California which banned Wallace, along with two associates, from accessing Facebook or MySpace networks. Among other things, the indictment charges that Wallace ignored the order and logged in to Facebook while aboard a Virgin Airlines flight from Las Vegas to New York using the profile name “David Sinful-Saturdays Fredericks.”
This particular case against Wallace began in 2009, when Facebook sued Wallace and two other men for phishing and spamming schemes and received a $711 million civil judgment under the federal CAN-SPAM Act. The case was then referred to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
On July 6 a federal grand jury in San Jose had indicted Wallace with multiple counts of fraud and related activity, along with three counts of intentional damage to a protected computer and two counts of criminal contempt. If found guilty in the case of Facebook, Inc. v. Sanford Wallace, et al, No.C09-00798 JF, Wallace faces maximum sentence of more than 40 years in prison, over $2 million in fines, and any demands for restitution.
“We applaud the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI to bring spammers to justice,” Facebook said in a statement. “Now Wallace also faces serious jail time for this illegal conduct. We will continue to pursue and support both civil and criminal consequences for spammers or others who attempt to harm Facebook or the people who use our service.”
U.S. Department of Justice statement – http://tinyurl.com/3ssc3jo
San Jose Mercury News – http://tinyurl.com/3ttkp65
PC World – http://tinyurl.com/m7y9nk
Photo by flickr user Larry Page, used under Creative Commons license