Sanford Wallace, self-dubbed the “Spam King,” surrendered yesterday to FBI agents in Las Vegas. Wallace, 43, faces multiple fraud charges for allegedly sending more than 27 million spam messages to Facebook users.
Between 2008 and 2009, Wallace allegedly broke into 500,000 Facebook accounts to harvest contacts, using this access to send password phishing emails to unsuspecting users.
Wallace is also charged with three counts of intentional damage to a computer and, tellingly, two counts of contempt. Facebook had filed a civil suit against Wallace in 2009, which resulted in Wallace being ordered not to access Facebook’s servers.
In a press release from the Northern California District Court, prosecutors claim that Wallace violated this order twice: first while on a Virgin Atlantic flight, and a second time in creating and maintaining a Facebook profile entitled “David Sinful-Saturdays Fredericks” in early 2011.
A prolific spammer whose notoriety began in 1998, Wallace made his first appearance in federal court today, and was released on a $100,000 bond. He was ordered to obey all civil orders, including not accessing MySpace or Facebook. If convicted, Wallace faces up to three years for each fraud charge, as well as an additional 10 years for each charge of intentional damage.
In a statement, Facebook’s lead security and investigations counsel Chris Sonderby “applauded the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI to bring spammers to justice. (RELATED: Homeland Security: Majority of hackers ‘little more than script kiddies’
“We will continue to pursue and support both civil and criminal consequences for spammers or others who attempt to harm Facebook or the people who use our service.”