Spam King sent down for 30 months
No computer and a mental health evaluation for Sanford Wallace
The self-proclaimed "Spam King," Sanford Wallace, has been given a 30-month jail sentence, a fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and five years' probation.
The 47 year old pled guilty back in August to sending more than a half-million spam messages through Facebook in violation of a court order that prevented him from accessing the social network following previous spamming efforts.
Wallace, from Las Vegas but sentenced in San Jose, will also undergo a mental health evaluation and will not be allowed to own or use a computer without the court's permission during the five-year probation period that will follow his sentence.
The two-and-a-half-year sentence is a little less than the maximum three years he was facing, a sentence that was itself reduced from 10 years following a plea deal.
Some of the details of that plea deal have now been made public. Although he was facing 11 charges ranging from fraud to damage to a protected computer, he pleaded guilty to electronic mail fraud and criminal contempt of court.
Wallace was barred from using Facebook after a previous spamming spree, but according to court documents obtained Facebook users' account information by setting up more than 1,000 fake websites which encouraged users to click on a link. If they did, the site grabbed their friend lists.
Using two aliases – David Frederix and Laura Frederix – he then spammed more than 550,000 Facebook users over the course of three months with over 27 million messages.
Not the first time
"Spamford" Wallace has been a prolific and notorious spammer since the 1990s, when he claimed responsibility for junk fax and email campaigns. In 1997, ISP EarthLink successfully sued Wallace for $2m over his spamming activities.
He also ended up in court for spamming MySpace and for running a huge spyware ring, although this is the first time he has been convicted of a crime.
The judge's decision in this case comes more than six months after the planned December sentencing date. No explanation was given for the long delay. Or why two of Wallace's lawyers quit back in 2014. One lawyer did note, however, that Wallace simply refused to communicate with him. Which is ironic seeing as over-communication is what has led to his jail sentence. ®