I was always wondering about the life of a spammer. My spam folder is about overflowing at times; blocking spam apparently doesn’t work as they keep on coming, and this seems to last forever. So I thought I’d just accept this as an inevitable fact of life, delete and move on.
It was pretty much going on this way until this morning when I received an email from Fiscal Times. It screamed in big bold font that Spam King Is Going To Prison. This piqued my curiosity and I went on reading more.
The article said that Sanford Wallace, the mastermind behind a spam campaign that sent millions of messages through Facebook servers in about a four-month period has been sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud and criminal contempt.
Wallace has been involved in the spamming business industry for quite some time. In 1990’s, he formed Cyber Promotions that became the most successful seller of email marketing, as well as the number one source of unsolicited email. After it failed to become a legit business, he briefly turned to junk faxing that was outlawed in 1991.
Wallace has a history of numerous altercations with FTC. In 2004, FTC filed a lawsuit against Wallace and his company, SmartBOT, for infecting computers with spyware then offering a solution to remove the problem for $30. These charges were settled; however later on, in 2006, FTC filed a suit again for similar practices. This time, Wallace and and his co-defendants were ordered to pay 5 million dollars in fines.
Then in 2007, MySpace filed suit against Wallace for phishing and spamming. Wallace had used automated software not allowed by MySpace to create 11,000 fake profiles, in order to direct MySpace users to other websites. How do you create thousands of fake profiles? Anyway, a district judge issued an order prohibiting Wallace from creating MySpace profiles and from using MySpace to post comments or send messages. He was also ordered to pay $230 million to MySpace when he failed to appear for trial.
In 2009, a federal judge awarded Facebook $711 million in damages. Wallace had filed for bankruptcy in the same year.
In August 2015, Wallace pleaded guilty to electronic mail fraud and criminal contempt of court as well as admitting to mass spamming. He also pleaded guilty to violating a court order to not access Facebook’s computer network.
In June 2016, Wallace has been sentenced to thirty months in federal prison and ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution for bombarding Facebook users. U.S. District Court Judge also sentenced Wallace to mental health treatment and five years of probation once he is released. He was barred of possessing or using any computer without the permission of the probation officer.
He will have to live without a computer for a while. Imagine that.
So much for one of the spammers being out of the way, at least for a few years.