Spam King Sentenced to Two-and-a-Half Years in Prison


Self-proclaimed “Spam King” Sanford Wallace has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and paying $310,628.55 in restitution after being found guilty of sending millions of spam messages to Facebook users and for breaching a court order not to access Facebook.

Between 2008 and 2009, 47-year-old Wallace, of Las Vegas, USA, sent out fraudulent Facebook messages, containing a phishing link designed to steal users’ login details and friends’ lists. He then used the friends’ lists to further his reach, with the total amount of spam messages sent to Facebook users totalling 27 million. Wallace pleaded guilty to fraud and criminal contempt in a San Jose court, taking a plea agreement to lessen his sentence.

“Wallace illegally obtained, stored, and exploited Facebook user account information and earned money by redirecting users to other websites,”according to a Department of Justice press release. “Specifically, Wallace admitted he opened a fictitious Facebook account in the name of “David Frederix” to test his spam messages and created an automated process to sign into a Facebook user’s account, retrieve a list of all of the user’s friends, and then send a message to each of the user’s friends’ Facebook accounts.”

“The message was designed to trick legitimate Facebook account holders into accessing a website listed in the message that was purportedly from a Facebook friend,” the release adds. “Once the user entered his or her information, the user would be redirected to an affiliate website. Wallace further admitted that he earned money for directing traffic to the websites and stored users’ email addresses and passwords in order to continue sending spam messages.”

Prosecutors pushed for a 36-month sentence, though accepted a reduction of six months as part of Wallace’s plea deal. A series of fines for his actions, totalling around $1 billion, were deemed uncollectable by U.S. District Judge Davila, according to Ars Technica. Wallace is also subject to a five-year supervised release. The Spam King’s sentence will begin on 7th September, 2016.

Image courtesy of Huffington Post.

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