One of the most reviled and well-known names in the spamming world, so-called “Spam King” Sanford Wallace, has surrendered to FBI agents for hacking into Facebook accounts and sending 27 million spam messages.
Facebook was previously awarded $711 million in damages from Wallace back in 2009, but today’s news marks the first time Wallace, a big proponent of spam throughout the 90s, has faced criminal charges.
Wallace allegedly acquired Facebook usernames and passwords via phishing attacks (those false emails asking you to log into various sites) on 500,000 Facebook accounts. He then reportedly used that access to spam messages on Facebook user walls.
He was banned from Facebook in 2009, but the indictment accuses him of contempt for logging into Facebook during a 2009 Virgin Airlines flight, and for also creating a Facebook profile this year with the name “David Sinful-Saturdays Fredericks.”
Wallace was indicted in July by a San Jose, Calif. grand jury, but it wasn’t made public until yesterday.
In a statement to press and on its blog, Facebook wrote:
On July 6, a federal grand jury in San Jose indicted Wallace with multiple counts of fraud for sending unwanted messages and Wall posts to people on Facebook. He now faces serious jail time for this illegal conduct. We applaud the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI to bring spammers to justice and will continue to pursue and support both civil and criminal consequences for spammers and others who attempt to harm Facebook or the people who use our service.
If convicted,, Wallace can get anywhere from 16 years to 40 years in prison and pay fines of over $2 million. He was released on Thursday on $100,000 bond and is set to appear in court again on August 22.