Facebook 'Spam King' Sentenced to More Than 2 Years in Prison
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
The Las Vegas man who admitted to sending tens of millions of spam messages on Facebook was sentenced yesterday to 30 months in prison, the Department of Justice announced.
Sanford Wallace, 47, will begin serving his sentence in September, followed by a five-year period of supervised release. On top of his two-and-a-half-year prison term, he was ordered to pay $310,628.55 in restitution.
The sentence comes after Wallace, aka the "Spam King," pleaded guilty in August 2015 to one count of fraud and one count of criminal contempt related to his Facebook spamming activities. In his plea agreement, Wallace admitted he compromised 500,000 Facebook accounts from November 2008 through March 2009 and used them to send more than 27 million spam messages through the social network's servers.
According to the Justice Department, Wallace "illegally obtained, stored, and exploited" Facebook user account information, and earned money directing users to other websites.
He set up a fictitious Facebook account in the name of "David Frederix," then created an automated process to sign into other people's accounts, retrieve a list of their friends and send a message to each of them. The messages were designed to trick users into visiting a website, where they were asked to enter their personal information before being redirected to an affiliate site.
Worse yet, he accessed Facebook's own computer network three different times in 2008 and 2009 to send out hundreds of thousands of spam messages. Facebook sued Wallace and two other spammers in 2009 and that same year won $711 million in damages, the second-largest in history for an action brought under the federal CAN-SPAM Act.
The case was then referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible criminal charges, which resulted in the 2011 indictment. That same year, Wallance turned himself in to the FBI.