Spamford Wallace Surrenders To The FBI; May Finally Go To Jail

from the wow dept

If you're an internet "old timer" who paid attention to the early "spam wars," you know the name of Sanford "Spamford" Wallace. While plenty of people have been described as "the spam king," he was the original kingpin (starting in the junk fax business, and then moving on to email in the mid-90s). He was proud of being called the spam king... but after the business started to become risky, he claimed that he "retired" in the late 90s, and (partially) owned a nightclub. However, the lure of the spam was apparently too much. He jumped into the spyware business and ran into trouble with the FTC. Things got weird when Wallace disappeared and his lawyer asked to withdraw from the case, noting that he couldn't reach Wallace. Wallace was hit with a massive fine from the FTC, which it appears he ignored.

He then moved on to spamming MySpace, which got him sued. His strategy was established: he just ignored the lawsuit. The end result? A $234 million fine. Of course, MySpace went downhill and up came Facebook. Facebook sued him in 2009 and won an astounding $711 million. This time, Wallace actually did show up in court, but claimed he was totally bankrupt. We wondered, at the time, if there was actually anything that could be done to stop him, since he seemed to just keep on spamming, and the fines (and some of the cases themselves) being issued against him were just ignored. There were some questions two years ago if he'd finally be brought up on criminal charges, and it appears that's finally happened.

Wallace apparently surrendered to the FBI after an indictment last month. He's now facing 40 years in jail and a potential $2 million fine (which seems like nothing compared to the earlier fines).

Some of the details in the article also suggest that Wallace simply couldn't stay away from Facebook, despite a court order not to access the site at all:
Wallace, who was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel in 2009 not to access Facebook, was also charged with violating that order by accessing the social network on an airline flight from Las Vegas to New York in April 2009 and by maintaining an account under the name David Sinful-Saturdays Fredericks for a few weeks earlier this year.
I will say that 40 years sounds excessive. However, it also seems clear that he has no interest in following the law when it comes to these things.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:49pm

    Not excessive at all

    Count the time you've wasted in your life because of spam - time you could have spent doing anything else. Multiply that by the number of people who receive spam. 40 years is probably lenient, he needs to go away for centuries.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Not excessive at all

    wasting someone else's time is like "committing murder in the millionth degree."

    paraphrased from henry rollins, think tank.

    if you've read this far then i am guilty too.

     

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  3.  
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    PRMan, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

    I hate spam...

    I hate spam as much as the next guy (probably more, since I skip ads with my DVR like a banshee), but I don't think any property crime should ever exceed 10 years. A decade (read as 7 years) is a long time to think about your property crimes.

    It's to the point now where computer crimes are punished 7-8x as much as non-lethal violent crimes.

     

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  4.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:23pm

    One of the enduring truths about spammers...

    ...is that there's no such thing as an "ex-spammer". Zero recorded cases, ever. Certainly there are many *claims* of such cases, almost all of which come from (surprise) spammers or their supporters/enablers/partners/suppliers. But those claims evaporate when examined closely enough. (Or when we wait a few months or years -- sometimes they do take a break.)

    Oh, and incidentally, Internet "old-timers" find Spamford and his ilk a relatively new problem.

     

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  5.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:32pm

    Hangin's too good for him. Burnin's too good for him. He should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:57pm

    Re:

    I'll just leave this sitting here. . .

    http://bash.org/?203815

     

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  7.  
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    DC, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 5:53pm

    40 years.

    Sure 40 years is too much for spamming.

    Remember, he missed court dates, even an FTC proceeding. He ignored court orders, and ignored multiple 9 figure judgements.

    Courts don't like being ignored, with good reason I think.

    40 years is pretty much what happens when you flout the law, ignore judgements, and don't flee the country.

     

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  8.  
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    JeffP, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re:

    exactly... death by boomba!

     

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  9.  
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    Atkray (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 7:04pm

    Re: I hate spam...

    It's to the point now where computer crimes are punished 7-8x as much as lethal violent crimes.

    FTFY

     

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  10.  
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    Montezuma (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 10:02pm

    There are malum in se violations that do not get anywhere near 40 years and a two million dollar fine. I do not see how this guy could be facing that much time for what is, essentially, not an act deserving of criminal penalties(sorry, but spam is not a crime). Legislation, these days, has gotten out of control.

     

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  11.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 12:07am

    Re: Re: I hate spam...

    It's almost as if the lawmakers don't understand how computers work at all.

     

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  12.  
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    Manabi (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 3:19am

    Re: I hate spam...

    Honestly, the article doesn't break it down, but it sounds like he's facing at least as much time, if not more, for his contempt of court charges as he is for the actual hacking charges. And it's hard to see even the hacking charges as too severe when he was charged with breaking into 500,000+ accounts. That's a LOT of accounts to break into, it's not just a one-off thing. Then he violated the court's temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction and continued to access Facebook. And let's not forget his long history of ignoring lawsuits and court orders prior to this.

    Judges don't like it when you ignore court orders. Whatever sentence he gets will be much more influenced by his total lack of respect for the courts than for how many computers he broke into. Society sure as hell will be better off with him not loose to do whatever he wants.

     

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  13.  
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    Bob, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 4:16am

    Spam may not be a crime. Stealing a million people's facebook passwords in order to spam is, however. Thpamford's been at this a long time, and you're definitely not an Internet-longtimer if you're feeling sorry for him!

     

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  14.  
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    Jesse (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 7:55am

    Proportional

    Rape? Slap on the wrist...

    Spam?...That is the unforgiveable sin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Nope, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 8:49am

    Re: Not excessive at all

    I hope his ass gets spammed in prison

     

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  16.  
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    David, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    Clang

    That's the sound of a cell door closing. Ting! That's the sound of the key being thrown away.

     

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  17.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    "Spamford" Wallace

    Pegging again.
    If the POSSIBLE term is 40 years, so what?
    If he was SENTENCED to 40 years, massive miscarriage of justice.
    If he faces such a term, and then acts in a totally scornful way, continuing on, then maybe 40 years is reasonable.
    Pegging on a POSSIBLE term as if it was the sentence makes no sense whatsoever.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 3:57pm

    Trolling should be considered a crime also. But then I would go to jail.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 10:47am

    Re: Not excessive at all

    No, he needs to be killed.

     

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  20.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: I hate spam...

    So just kill him.

     

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  21.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    He should be killed anyway. So should his apologists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    Re: Proportional

    Yes, it is. Kill him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 10:51am

    Re: "Spamford" Wallace

    No term needed. Death penalty is sufficient.

     

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  24.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re: I hate spam...

    Doesn't matter if they do. Just hang him high. No computer knowledge needed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Re:

    Trolling is a form of spectator sport. No crime at all. Responses to trolling, on the other hand, can be considered criminal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    DannyB (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Sorry to disagree Mike

    While I think 40 years sounds excessive, in this case, I think it may not be.

    This is a person who has ignored or evaded the law for years. He just goes on. No court order will stop him. No conviction will stop him.

    I think nothing short of keeping him safely locked up can stop him.

    It's not that he's violent. He simply cannot stop inflicting billions of dollars of harm on society, which thinking he's doing nothing wrong.

    He could be in minimum security. But he needs to be locked up at this point. Things have gone on for two long. He has clearly and willfully demonstrated that he simply will not stop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Shine (profile), Mar 19th, 2012 @ 4:11am

    Wow! He really enjoys spamming...is it the challenge?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Nicole, Apr 24th, 2012 @ 3:43am

    When you spam, you are just thinking of yourself and what you can get for yourself...you're not thinking of the people that are negatively affected by your spamming.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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