Facebook Wins ‘Spam King’ Sanford Wallace's Surrender

Some people just can’t seem to earn an honest living, and “Spam King” Sanford Wallace places high on that list. Fortunately, Facebook has just won a big victory against the man considered to have invented spamming.

Following his indictment July 6, Wallace surrendered himself to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in Las Vegas Thursday, and he was charged with multiple counts of fraud, three counts of intentional damages to a protected computer, and two counts of criminal contempt.

Wallace — also known as Spamford and David Frederix, faces up to 16 years in prison and fines of more than $2 million. These charges emanate from a lawsuit Facebook filed against the spammer two years ago.

Facebook announced Thursday’s developments in a post on its blog:

Today, U.S. Attorney Melina Huaag announced that Sanford Wallace self-surrendered to agents from the FBI. On July 6, a federal grand jury in San Jose, Calif., indicted Wallace with multiple counts of fraud for sending unwanted messages and wall posts to people on Facebook. He now faces serious jail time for this illegal conduct. We applaud the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI to bring spammers to justice, and we will continue to pursue and support both civil and criminal consequences for spammers and others who attempt to harm Facebook or the people who use our service.

The July 6 indictment states that Wallace accessed Facebook’s computer network in three separate attacks — in November 2008, December 2008, and February 2009 — compromising 500,000 accounts and sending 27 million spam messages.

Friending Facebook added that he wrote a script that automatically logged in to the compromised accounts and retrieved friend lists, after which spam messages were posted to those friends’ walls. Those who fell for it and clicked the included link entered their email addresses and passwords, and Wallace used that data to repeat the process, getting paid for each visitor to a spam site.

Wallace appeared in federal court Thursday afternoon, and he was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond, and ordered not to access websites including Facebook. He is scheduled to appear in court in San Jose Aug. 22.

We’re cheering along with Facebook and its supporters, but we wonder how much of these charges wills tick. This isn’t the first time anyone’s tried to sue Wallace out of spamming, and yet he’s still at it after all these years.

With that in mind, dear readers, what would you like to see the court do with Wallace’s case, given that he’s a repeat offender?

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