'Spam king' Sanford Wallace sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for Facebook phishing scam

He admitted to hacking half a million Facebook accounts to send over 27 million messages almost a decade ago

Self-styled spam king Sanford Wallace was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison on Tuesday for a phishing scam that resulted in the sending of over 27 million messages to Facebook users.

Last August, Wallace admitted to compromising around 500,000 Facebook accounts, using them to send over 27 million spam messages through Facebook's servers, between November 2008 and March 2009.

Sentencing had been scheduled for last December, but it has taken the court almost a year to reach a sentencing decision.

Wallace could have faced up to 16 years imprisonment, but in the end was sentenced to just two-and-a-half years in prison and five years of supervised release.

He was also ordered to pay US$310,628.55 in restitution, according to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. That's about one cent for every message sent or about 60 cents per account compromised.

Using a Facebook account in the fictitious name of David Frederix, Wallace honed his phishing technique. He automated the process of signing into a Facebook user's account, retrieving a list of their friends, and then sending them each a message.

That message encouraged them to log into a website that would trick them into divulging their Facebook username and password before directing them to an affiliate website that paid him for the traffic. Wallace then continued his spam campaign using the newly gathered login credentials.

Facebook had previously filed a lawsuit against him under the CAN-SPAM act, resulting in March 2009 in an order not to access or attempt to access Facebook's computer network in any manner whatsoever. However, Wallace admitted that just weeks later, he flouted that order by logging into his Facebook account while on a plane heading from Las Vegas to New York.

Wallace is due to begin his sentence on Sept. 7.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Facebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?