The notorious "Spam King" Sanford Wallace surrendered himself to federal authorities on Thursday, and is now facing numerous criminal charges for hacking Facebook.
Wallace surrendered to FBI agents in Las Vegas, Nev., after a July 6 indictment in the United States Federal District Court in San Jose, Calif. Wallace was released on $100,000 bail -- and instructed not to leave town, or to try to log in to MySpace or Facebook.
Wallace has been charged with six counts of fraud (with a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count) and two counts of "intentional damage to a protected computer" (possibly ten years and a $250,000 fine for each count). Because Wallace had already been instructed to stay off Facebook after a civil judgement in 2009, he also revived two counts of criminal contempt.
Wallace has spent much of the last two decades on the shadier side of "Internet marketing," one of the first of many to pollute every available space on the Internet with countless cheap and tacky spam advertisements. After going back and forth between a junk fax career and email spamming in the 1990s, "Spamford" began employing pop-up windows and spyware, and amassing a history of bankrupt companies and ever-increasing civil judgements throughout the first years of the new century.
Finding the growing field of social networking perfect for his schemes, Wallace quickly launched campaigns of phishing and spamming, which resulted in him owing $230 million from a civil judgement for MySpace in 2008, and $711 million in the aforementioned Facebook case less than a year later.
It was Wallace's more recent Facebook shenanigans that crossed the line to the criminal courts. Wallace's nefarious scripting evaded the spam filters, logged into about 500,000 accounts, and posted a fraudulent message on each user's wall. Anybody who clicked on the link in the message was treated to a dedicated phishing site which extracted more personal data, such as email addresses and account credentials. Plus, the scripting was often able to extract user's friends lists for further attempts.
Once the data was gathered, the Spam King went to work doing what he did best: sending out some 27 million advertisements.
If all goes as planned, Wallace will face a Federal Judge on Aug. 22.
James Lee Phillips is a Senior Writer & Research Analyst for IBG.com. With offices in Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, & London, IBG is quickly becoming the leading expert in Internet Marketing, Local Search, SEO, Website Development and Reputation Management. More information can be found at www.ibg.com . Ryan A. Nassbridges is an executive officer in sales and marketing. Mr. Nassbridges was awarded CEO of the year for his impeccable guidance and management skills.