Will Spamford Wallace Finally Face Criminal Charges?

from the looking-that-way dept

If you’ve been around the tech world for a while, you should know the name Sanford Wallace — better know as Spamford. He was one of the first big spammers in the 90s, and quite proud of it. After a variety of lawsuits, he claimed he had gone straight, and even opened a nightclub somewhere. But it wasn’t long before he was back in the game, and accused of being in the spyware business by the FTC. In response… Wallace disappeared (even his lawyer couldn’t find him), and he was eventually fined $4 million. Last year, MySpace sued Wallace (who, again didn’t bother showing up) and won $234 million (which it will never see, of course).

Earlier this year, Facebook sued him for spamming Facebook as well — and, par for the course, he didn’t bother showing up at all… until Friday. Apparently he first declared bankruptcy on Thursday and showed up at the court hearing on Friday. The bankruptcy protects him against the unpaid fines for now… but, the hearing on Friday was about handing the case over to federal prosecutors, given the contempt for the law Wallace has shown to date. In other words, he can try to disappear again, but he may end up in prison, rather than just ducking out on the hundreds of millions of dollars he owes for spamming.

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Companies: facebook

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Comments on “Will Spamford Wallace Finally Face Criminal Charges?”

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Martin Cohn (profile) says:

Court ordered payments and bankruptcy

Looks like he’ll pay more in legal fees. If any of the court-ordered payments are from “criminal-type” proceedings, 11 USC 523(a) (7) and 18 USC 361 say they’re not discharged in bankruptcy.

If the proceedings were civil, the bankruptcy court has to be specifically notified of “Debts from embezzlement, larceny or breach of trust” before they can be discharged 11 USC 523(a) (4).

Rich Kulawiec says:

(a) it won't matter and (b) it's an object lesson

(a) Spamford will likely find a way out of this one, too. He’s proven himself to be quite adept at evading consequences as he’s migrated between spam and spyware and junk faxing and so on.

(b) As I’ve said many times: there are no recorded cases of ex-spammers. There are many who CLAIM to be, but they always turn up again, sooner or later, involving in spam or a related form of abuse. And why not? Anyone who’s reasonably good at it can profit handsomely while taking almost no risk of serious consequences.

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