Sanford Wallace, also known as the Spam King, received 30 months sentence email fraud and court contempt.
Aside from the spending time in prison, Wallace has to pay $310,628.55 as retribution. However, the maximum penalty was 16 years in jail and a fine of $1 billion, which makes the court decision to be fairly generous.
Wallace was accused of having sent 27 million spam messages by using fake Facebook accounts. The messages were a part of a PPC scam and were sent between 2008 and 2009. The contempt of court refers to a prior order not to access Facebook, after a CAN-SPAM act.
In court, Wallace pleaded guilty.
The Spam King
Sanford Wallace has a vast experience in spam, as in the ’80s he started to send junk faxes. He only stopped because the activity was outlawed in 1991.
The Spam King was also taken to court by AOL and Compuserve, as both companies had been targeted by his pellet official emails. Before Facebook, he hit MySpace and sent there another full string of spam emails.
In 1995, his company became the most successful seller of email marketing and also a source of unsolicited email. The company used false returned addresses, multihoming and relaying to ensure its advertising activity. As the business failed to become legit, Wallace had to go back to faxes.
Wallace retired in 1998 from online activity and took various jobs as DJ. However, he still connected to the internet world and in 2004 he was accused of infecting computers with spyware. He received similar convictions in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
The Facebook Scam
Between 2008 and 2009, Wallace owned more than 1,500 fake internet domain names and obtained access to 500,000 Facebook accounts.
In three months, the Spam King managed to send 27 million unsolicited ads that requested users to log into a website with their Facebook username and password. He collected the information and redirected users to a second online site which paid Wallace for the traffic he produced.
Wallace will have to undergo mental health treatment, and he will stay five years on probation after he will have ended his jail sentence.
The decision is supposed to discourage further spam activity in the US. A recent report from Symantec shows that the spam emails, phishing, and email-based malware are on a descending trend.
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