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A huge victory for Facebook after Sanford Wallace, 43, surrendered himself to the FBI after facing lawsuits with Facebook announced Attorney Melina Huaag on August 4.
Wallace will be looking at 40 years in prison and $2 million in fines if found guilty, on six accounts of electronic mail fraud, three counts of intentional damage to a protected computer and two counts of criminal contempt on the indictment handed down on July 6.
Prosecutors said that the indictment was followed by a two year investigation on the Wallace, also known as “The Spam King”. According to the indictment, Wallace would send phishing messages, which are messages used to deceive people into revealing private information, to trick users into disclosing their password information from their Facebook account.
He would retrieve the information, then log onto their accounts and post spam messages on friends’ walls. After the spam was posted on their respective walls, they would then click on the link and be directed to the websites that paid Wallace for internet trafficking.
This took place between November 2008 and March 2009. The attack compromised 500,000 Facebook accounts and sent 27 million spam messages.
This was not Sanford’s first appearance in the Spamming business; back in 1990 Sanford became Spam’s biggest vocal defender. Cyber Promotions was a company led by Sanford, which sent out about 30 million junk emails a day in the 90’s.
The Federal Trade Commission accused Wallace and his spybot.net company of running an operation that administered spyware and was ordered by the New Hampshire Court Judgment to pay $4 million in fines in 2006 In addition to that court case, Myspace won $230 million in 2008, over junk messages sent to their members, applying the same tactic he utilized on Facebook members.
In 2009, Wallace was restricted from accessing any social networking site, after being sued by Facebook for crimes under the CAN-SPAM Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the California Anti-Phishing Act and was facing a hefty fine of $711 million along with an agreement forbidding him from the Spam business.
He violated that restriction and disappeared after his trial to flee from the punishment appointed to him. The charges brought before him today originated from this case two years ago.
Chris Sonderby, a lawyer for Facebook said “We will continue to seek and support the civil and criminal consequences for those who generate spam and others who try to harm Facebook or people who use our service.”
This has generated good feedback from Facebook users, knowing that their accounts will be safe from spammers and that Facebook is doing everything they can for justice.
After posting a $100,000 unsecured bond, Sanford was released. His next appearance in court is scheduled for August 22 at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose. Wallace was banned from usage of any social networking sites yet again.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanthatcher/