FBI vs. Sanford 'Spam-King' Wallace in huge Facebook hack charge

Spam! (freezelight@Flickr)
By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - August 5, 2011.

Sanford Wallace, the self-confessed "Spam King," is back in court. The FBI indicted him last month, and he's just been bailed. This time he's facing a shedload of criminal charges -- to add to the civil charges of which he's already been convicted over the years. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers are aghast at the scale of Spamford's alleged wrongdoing.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Cute Roulette...

Robert McMillan reports:

Wallace allegedly made money...by driving Web traffic to affiliate marketing companies. ... Wallace gained fame as one of spam's most vocal defenders back in the 1990s...[he] faced numerous civil actions over his activities. ... However this is the first time he's facing criminal charges.


[The] indictment accuses Wallace of...logging onto the social network during an April 2009 Virgin [America] flight from Las Vegas to New York. ... He was released Thursday on a $100,000 bond.   

    Dan Goodin adds:

Sanford Wallace, now 43, first figured out a way to evade Facebook's spam filters and then...automatically logged in to the accounts he had compromised [to] retrieve a list of all the users' friends. ... He then allegedly posted junk messages on each of the friends' Facebook walls...[who] were directed to a website that phished their...account credentials, prosecutors said.


Wallace surrendered to FBI agents in Las Vegas on Thursday. ... The indictment charges Wallace with six counts of fraud...two counts of intentional damage to a protected computer [and] two counts of criminal contempt. ... If convicted, he faces a maximum of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each fraud count and 10 years and a $250,000 fine for each intentional damage count.   

Steven Musil adds it up:

If convicted of all charges, Wallace faces nearly 40 years in prison and fines of more than $2 million.


Wallace earned the nicknames "Spamford" and "spam king" for his past role as head of CyberPromotions [which sent] as many as 30 million junk e-mails a day in the 1990s. ...  In May 2006, Wallace and his company Smartbot.net were ordered by a federal court to turn over $4.1 million.   

Emil Protalinski has frightening stats:

He managed to compromise 500,000 Facebook accounts and fill the social networking website’s servers with 27 million spam messages.   

Meanwhile, Erin Sherbert reveals why it's really called Sin City:

Wallace, a Las Vegas resident...allegedly sent out more than 30 million junk e-mail [messages] during the 1990s. Before that he was best known for sending out "junk faxes."


Wallace has been ordered to return to court in San Jose on Aug. 22.   

   And Finally...
Cute Roulette
[hat tip: b3ta]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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