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.