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‘Spam King’ gets two years in prison

by | Jun 15, 2016 | Deceptive Marketing

The infamous ‘Spam King’ who pioneered junk email has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for sending more than 27million unwanted messages to Facebook users.

Sanford Wallace, 47, from Las Vegas, had also disobeyed a court order banning him from the same social media platform.

A judge in San Jose, California also ordered him to pay $310,000 and undergo mental health treatment and five years of probation once he is released from jail.

Judge Edward Davila also banned him from possessing or using any computer without the permission of his probation officer.

Sanford Wallace, pictured, breached an order banning him from Facebook only a month after it was handed out

Wallace – who called himself the Spam King – was arrested in 2011 and had faced up to 40 years in jail and a fine of $2million.

Last year Wallace admitted accessing 500,000 Facebook accounts between November 2008 and March 2009 and sending unsolicited ads disguised as posts from friends over a three-month period.

Prosecutors say Wallace collected Facebook user account information by sending ‘phishing’ messages that tricked users of the social networking site into providing their passwords.

According to the indictment, he then used that information to log into their accounts and post spam messages on their friends’ Facebook walls.

In 2009 Facebook sued Wallace under federal anti-spam laws known as CAN-SPAM, prompting a judge to issue a temporary restraining order banning him from using the website.

A month later he broke the order and a judge in the civil lawsuit issued ordered him to pay $711million but he is not thought to have paid a cent yet.

But he was also liable for a criminal prosecution and it is that which has reached its conclusion this week.

Wallace, who was also known as Spamford, ran a company called Cyber Promotions which sent as many as 30million junk emails per day in the 1990s.

According to the indictment he used the aliases David Frederix and Laura Frederix and around 1,500 fake internet domain names.

In 2013 Italian researchers estimated that spammers can earn around $200million a year.

Carlo DeMicheli told The Guardian: ‘The spam posters get paid an average of $13 per post, for pages that have around 30,000 fans, up to an average of $58 to post on pages with more than 100,000 fans.’