Facebook spammer ordered to pay $711 million

By on October 30, 2009, 11:48 AM
Facebook has been awarded $711 million in damages against spammer Sanford Wallace for bombarding the social networking with phony wall posts and messages. The so-called “Spam King” was sued in February along with Adam Arzoomanian and Scott Shaw for allegedly obtaining login credentials for other users' accounts, and sending out links to phishing sites and other websites that paid spammers for referrals.

While Facebook isn't expecting to receive the full amount of the massive award, the company says they'll work hard to get everything they can and hope this will serve as a deterrent to all spammers. In addition to the damages, Judge Jeremy Fogel of U.S. District Court in Northern California's San Jose division referred Wallace for prosecution of criminal contempt of court, which means he could face jail time.

This isn't the first time Wallace has been targeted and fined. In May 2008, he was found guilty of violating the CAN-SPAM act and was ordered to pay $230 million for spamming and phishing on MySpace. Wallace was also hit with a nice $4 million fine from the FTC in 2006 and has faced numerous other suits in between.




User Comments: 54

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swilllx2p said:

In my opinion the fines are just plain retarded. Give the guy prison time and be done with it. Fines like this that will never even remotely come close to being paid are worthless, and I find it hard to believe that he seriously caused that much money to be lost.

Prison time, enough with meaningless fines.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Agreed - but fines WITH prison time. This guy has more money than he knows what to do with - jail will be more of a deterrent than the fines.

treeski treeski said:

Yeah, I agree. Prison time should have been his reward. I'm glad severe action is being taken against him though. I have no idea how much money the guy has, but I hope he loses it all!

fref said:

Some people just never learn... After being caught once, I think I'd think twice before doing it again.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Agreed, he has been caught screwing with myspace, now he hits up facebook? not very bright. Also agree on the prison time. Lock him up for a while, and make him pay some fines and see what kind of tune he is singing then.

Obakemono said:

Ouch. I think he needs a good amount of jail time and then probation with NO internet (like house arrest). Some people never learn.

lynxon said:

One question: How can he like, do anything with that 230+ dollar fine?

pioneerx01 pioneerx01 said:

What do these spammers get out of doing this stuff. I understand "king of Nigeria" spam. At lease they can get money out of stupid people, but this? Get a JOB!

elroacho72 said:

He will end up working for a company in charge of network security .

I think he makes a lot of money he considers his company to be the one stop shopping for spam,

and compares himself to Madonna and Howard Stern so he must have money.

I hope he gets spammed in the slammer, Ha Ha...I hate spam !!

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Well, since we facebook users were IMHO the ones who received the most "damages" by the spammer, I think it's reasonable to say that those affected would receive a small portion of whatever is paid. I know that kind of thing would NEVER happen, but if we want to talk about who really received the most "damage", I'd say it's more the users. Has anyone else ever seen this ugly dude? I'd say he doesn't have to worry about rape, just being the next punching/shanking bag....

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Simple solution... Seize all of his assets, liquidate them all to pay his fines, then throw him in jail for a nice stretch where he can be some huge hairy guy's girlfriend...

Then see how many spam czars soil themselves and begin to rethink their careers. All you need is one really good example to help curb their enthusiasm about the spam business.

buttus said:

I agree that the fines awarded are seldom collected and therefore the actual number is pointless. Jail time and seizing all assests (as the assets are from the proceeds of a crime) should be enforced.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I hope they take everything he has although he's probably hidden his assets away to avoid paying any taxes. He does deserve some jail time and he should never be allowed to operate or work at a company related to the computer or software industry.

Colonel Lance said:

I don't get it, you get caught multiple times and you're being fined millions upon millions of dollars and yet you still keep breaking the law over and over and over again. This seems to me to point out that either the justice system is entirely inadequate or there is something seriously wrong with this man.

I wish they would come down hard on this guy.

MBK MBK said:

As a repeat offender, he does deserve a computer ban, or at least an internet ban (if that can even be enforced??).

As for paying for this crime, tis a hefty fine he will probably be paying for the rest of his life, but all assests obtained from the criminal act should deff be seized and put towards the fine payment.

abautu said:

It seems to me he's making more money that they can fine him (or he's not paying the fines) since he keeps on doing this.

tonylukac said:

I hate to disagree with all of you, but why do people fight a way of making money? All our white collar jobs are in India, so I guess we may resort to digging ditches and paving more roads. Is it so hard to press the delete key?

lesajm said:

well... i doubt the fine is going to detour people from spamming. they spam and hack because it's a power trip for them. companies need to take these people into the fold and work with them to better their security.

InsaneVr6 said:

I hate spammers. Even when I make websites for a client some kind of spam-bot finds their way into my database!

Even though I really don't think he will be able to pay the amount, its fun to say I guess. To me it's like the file sharing issue when they are fined some ridiculous amount that only ruins their lives.

Shalimar said:

fines. fines and more fines.. why don't they just throw this useless waste of space in JAIL already. He is not only guilty of all the spam but he costs an untold amount of damages in $ and time. Jail the bastard and that will send a REAL message about what will happen to those generating spam.

AntiMoronic said:

wow, incredible, they're actually making a BIG example of someone. Fantastic news.

GACrabill said:

Seize all of his assets (like Madoff). Sell everything and distribute proportionately to all winners of previous lawsuits. Send him to jail. It seems to me that the Federal CAN-SPAM act should result in felony convictions (not misdemeanors). Three convictions of felony offenses should result in an automatic minimum jail sentence. What good are Federal laws if no one goes to jail?

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I gald he has to pay all that money, what he does is out of pure annoyance to others for his own amusement. I hope they take everything he owns, including his facebook page(if he has one) and sells it.

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

First of all, who wants to buy a facebook page? That stuff is free. And second of all, I'm agreeing with the people suggesting the fine is too ridiculous. Do any of you honestly believe that such a fine can be paid by a civilian? Even with a lucrative business in the spamming and scamming industry, nobody makes that kind of cash. Otherwise, you'd never even HEAR from that guy ever again. He's buying an island and going away forever in international waters.

At the very least though, the guy was caught. A suitable punishment however is highly debatable. One thing is for sure. Paying a fine of ANY size is not a successful way to prevent this sort of stuff from happening again. If you got a speeding ticket for doing 200 miles per hour, and all you had to do was pay a fine, would that honestly stop you from speeding again? I highly doubt it.

gamingmage said:

I know everyone needs to make money somehow but come on. This guy makes a living off of annoying the everliving hell out of people whether it be minor annoyances to something that might escalate out of his ventures. I'm glad this guy got caught, charged and fined.

kaonis92 said:

In my opinion spammers should be punished with heavy fines together with some prison time! They are on of the internet's nightmares!

supertech supertech said:

it's about time these guys get into deep S**T with spam as it's out of control. I have received over 50 emails this week alone from "FACEBOOK ADMIN" and they all are annoying and a waste of time.

I have many customers who always ask me, "how do I stop these emails from coming in"... when I explain that this is pretty much the normal part of the internet today, they start to wine.

Guest said:

Twice as in you think you'd think you think you'd think?

aceofspaids222 said:

He got caught again. I guess he just didn't learn. The fine is crazy (how could any one person pay that) and dumb (didn't work the first time). Put this guy in jail if you want him to think twice before doing it again.

Eddie_42 Eddie_42 said:

where did this dude get $1 BILLION dollars? Seems he should be making license plates for a long time

alberthuang said:

Too bad this guy isn't in jail. He has a lot of money to spend on lawsuits like this.

The CAN SPAM law specifically allows the spammer to be sentenced a jail term.

Obviously this guy's lawyer did something to make him only pay a fine.

JieMan JieMan said:

I think he should lose all rights to a PC for life , as well a realistic fine on which would ruin him completely ... but can you really blame him ? I mean he's just lookin to make a buck and who is really hurt that much by SPAM , your grandma?

Zedster said:

Good job! Throw him in jail and the rest of the spammers, and the whole internet will breathe a big sigh of relief.

aestarvirus said:

i guess he deserves whatever punishment he had. i really don't get the point of disturbing a web social community just for the sake of self fulfillment that "oh i am intelligent in computer stuffs, i can hack whatever site there is..." i think this case should be a sort of deterrent, as the above article says, for those "attention-seeker" people in the web who tries to ruin somebody else's privacy.

in addition, with that lots of offences he made in the past, he should have learned his lesson, but he does not. so he has to face the consequences of his misdeed.

computer is indeed made for human's convenience and even for entertainment. but it is not made just for you or for me, its is for everybody! we need to respect everybody's privacy and security as well. hope that this particular scenario about this web offender man can be a lesson for everybody...

njel said:

That guy will never be able to pay that. So I would punished him by making him worked to delete all the spam in Facebook.

He will never have time anymore to spam the others...

diego713 diego713 said:

I am always happy every time I hear about one of these criminals getting prosecuted, stripped of their illegally obtained finances, and prison time. But it does not happen often enough or quickly enough. This activity really hurts the internet community in all categories. The laws and personnel to fight this must be stepped up.

Razerblade said:

Wow that is a lot of money! How can he afford that amount of money?! It is all well saying he has to pay it but there is no way he has that sort of money to pay so facebook wont get it!

SUSHRUKH said:

Some people just never learn... After being caught once, I think I'd think twice before doing it again.

bigbrat41 said:

I forget exactly how the quote goes, but the gist is " doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity ". Fines don't work !!!!!

Cut off his hands, then lock him up.

Spam and worst, Virus writers, will not cease until serious deterrents are in place.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I wish they all could face jail time, they vulnerate security holes in our computers to get access to yours and friends/family email accounts and spam it.

There are two types of spammers, the ones that scams you and the other type that you just ignore.

Badfinger said:

You guys are too nice, I'm for dropping spammers into a pool full of starving rottweilers after being basted in bacon grease.

Film at 11... might work to actually deter?

--------------

30 years hard labor as a second choice.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You guys are too nice, I'm for dropping spammers into a pool full of starving rottweilers after being basted in bacon grease.

Film at 11... might work to actually deter?

Love it... But set it up as a pay-per-view event, with proceeds going to anti-spam organizations...

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I hate to disagree with all of you, but why do people fight a way of making money? All our white collar jobs are in India, so I guess we may resort to digging ditches and paving more roads. Is it so hard to press the delete key?

It's hard to justify a way of making money when you have to hit the delete key 100 times every day when you check your email. And when the spammers are using often dubious and nefarious means to get at lists of potential spam victims to help pad their pockets. And when these slimeballs constantly find ways around your spam blockers. And when spam and related crap like that is responsible for a majority of the internet bandwidth being used (up to 95%, depending on the source you choose to believe), while these lazy jokers pay nothing extra to use it for their gains - at least with the old regular mail junk, they had to pay postage if they wanted to annoy the crap out of you.

But, hey, if you want to be ok with questionable ethics and constant irritations all in the name of letting some butt nuggets make money, more power to you.

fida1989 said:

It is a great news.Social networking sites must kept safe from these kind of people.

Kadir said:

Wow. Sued for $711 Million?

That's a lot of money. But I bet he got a lot too, by the reffering links and phishing sites.

But, WOW.

orondf said:

i have been reciving spam from one of my friends on facebook. maybe "Spam King" did that.

xtina said:

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanford_Wallace), he filed for bankruptcy June 2009. There goes everyone's hopes of liquidating his assets (like many users above stated)!

One has to wonder what type of person would want to be known for being a Spam King.

Psalm7326 said:

GACrabill said:

Seize all of his assets (like Madoff). Sell everything and distribute proportionately to all winners of previous lawsuits. Send him to jail. It seems to me that the Federal CAN-SPAM act should result in felony convictions (not misdemeanors). Three convictions of felony offenses should result in an automatic minimum jail sentence. What good are Federal laws if no one goes to jail?

AMEN to that!!! As for how to pay that fine, put him to work in the federal pen, so he can "earn" that money after you liquidate any & all of his assets.

I also agree with bigbrat41 (I think I got that right) who said "Cut off his hands and send him to jail." That may sound harsh, but that's what would be done in other countries. That's what they do to thieves, and this guy was not only stealing user information, he was stealing their security. What I'm about to say may be an unpopular opinion (I'm used to that), but I believe this is a bit like drunk driving. If you get behind the wheel under-the-influence, you should (IMHO) have your license revoked *PERMANENTLY.* If you engage in crime online, same thing: no Internet for you, m'dear. Both are hard to police, but the ruling would stand.

I've gotten to the point where I'm afraid to put just about ANY information about myself online anywhere. I've been hacked on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and have had four email accounts hacked. My entire computer was hacked at the same time the email accounts were compromised. (The hacker deleted my one password-protected folder.) This is no funny-business to me! Granted, I believe I know who hacked my computer; I will admit that. But, I have no way to prove it. He basically *lives* online, and I believe he should have all access to computers removed. He can't behave online, so he shouldn't BE online. But, please don't think this colours my viewpoint. I'm mature enough not to allow that. He had nothing to do with the other stuff as far as I know. So...anyway. I've run out of things to say on this. I believe I've made my point.

ellulbrian ellulbrian said:

I wonder why all these exaggerated fines, just to scare people. Everyone knows he wouldn't pay them (at) all. Give him something which affects him and in today's world, even if he is imprisoned, he will find a way how to continue doing these things.

And hey! after all no victim will receive a penny, so why care about him?

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Is it even possible for this guy to even pay that amount of money? If he can, why is he even bothering with spamming anyway!?

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