'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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Facebook

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?