Notorious spammer Sanford Wallace, 43, of Las Vegas, Nevada, has turned himself in to the cops in San Jose, California.
Wallace, better known by his nicknames “The Spam King” and “Spamford”, was sought on eleven charges under three different laws.
In the dispassionate language of the United States Code, these are:
* Fraud and related activity in connection with electronic mail.
* Intentional damage to a protected computer.
* Criminal contempt.
The criminal contempt charges remind us that Wallace has been in serious trouble with the law before, as a result of which he was banned by the court from accessing Facebook’s network.
This latest batch of charges allege that he not only accessed Facebook’s network in contempt of court – maintaining a Facebook persona called Davis Sinful-Saturdays Fredericks – but did so on a spectacularly criminal scale, using a whopping 500,000 compromised accounts to post more than 27 million spam messages.
These charges are a stark reminder that what you do on Facebook affects not only your own privacy and security, but also that of your online friends: “[Wallace] employed an automated scripting process to sign into a compromised Facebook user’s account, retrieve a list of all the user’s friends, and then post a spam message to each of the user’s friends’ Facebook walls.
[Wallace thereby] purposely deceived legitimate Facebook account holders into visiting the website mentioned on the spam message that was purportedly from a Facebook friend.”
And to those who wonder how Facebook wall scammers make money, the charges further allege that users were “redirected to an affiliate website where Wallace earned substantial revenue for directing internet traffic.”
Wallace – who supposedly retired from spamming way back in 1998 – was infamously fined $4 million in 2006 for distributing spyware; ordered to pay MySpace $234 million in 2008; and ordered to pay Facebook an astonishing $711.2 million in 2009.
This time, Wallace will be lucky to escape a stretch in prison. And, judging by his unrepentant and recidivistic behaviour over the past several years, the rest of us will be fortunate if he doesn’t.