Spanking Spam King: Sanford Wallace faces jail for Facebook flood

Junk mail tycoon now looking at hard time

The Las Vegas man known as the "Spam King" is now facing a stretch behind bars after pleading guilty to spamming tens of millions of people on Facebook –despite being legally barred from doing so.

Sanford Wallace agreed to a plea deal that reportedly could see him sent down for as long as three years. The deal, agreed to on Monday, sets December 7 as the date for sentencing.

Wallace was hit with 11 charges including fraud, damage to a protected computer, and criminal contempt, for masterminding a scheme that resulted in the spread of more than 30 million spam posts on Facebook.

The complaint, filed in 2011, alleges that Wallace used an army of 500,000 compromised accounts to make an estimated 30 million unauthorized wall posts on the friends of those commandeered accounts. The scam ran over a five-month period between 2008 and 2009.

In addition to the charges for his spam run, Wallace is facing the criminal contempt charge for violating a 2009 order that forbade him from accessing Facebook's network.

The plea deal itself has not been made available to the public, and it is not known which of the 11 charges Wallace has admitted. According to reports from Bloomberg and the Associated Press, Wallace will only face a maximum of three years behind bars, not the possible 10 years carried by the intentional damage charges.

The US Attorney's office did not respond to El Reg's request for confirmation on the possible jail time.

"On top of the technical measures we employ to defeat spam on our service, we actively pursue both civil and criminal consequences for those who try to harm people who use Facebook," a spokesman for the social network told The Register.

"Spamford" Wallace has been known as a 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.

Since then, he has been in and out of court for activities such as running a massive spyware ring and spam runs on MySpace. ®

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