Facebook Sues Spammer; Wins $711 Million

Facebook won $711 million in a lawsuit against a notorious spammer. Don’t cheer too hard, though. The same spampresario owes MySpace $234 million for the same thing.

Sanford Wallace, the man they sued, has been spamming people for as long as the Web has existed, and before that sent junk faxes.

Court documents indicate that Wallace and an associate who was later dropped from the case spammed Facebook users with phishing messages. Those who clicked on the links and submitted login information to phishing sites allowed Wallace and his associate to then spam the phishing victim’s friends, in turn generating more potential phishing victims. Facebook claims that Wallace also received payment for redirecting some spam recipients to Web sites that pay for referrals.

Facebook asked for damages of $7 billion under the CAN-SPAM act, instead of the only marginally less ridiculous $711 million the judge awarded them. In the end, it doesn’t matter how much the judgment is, since Wallace declared bankruptcy a few months ago.

All is not lost—the spammer could also face jail time for violating a restraining order.

Facebook Wins $711 Million From Spammer [InformationWeek]

(Photo: ivanx)

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  1. Scatter says:

    Does anyone in our justice dept really believe that this individual will be able to pay off the 1 BILLION dollars in fines that he’s received? Is there really any point in fining him at this point?

    So how does a person like this who has a history of this and obviously isn’t afraid of fines avoid jail?

    • AppleAlex says:

      @Scatter: Do people ever pay fines?

      look at those movie warnings that claim 5 years in jail and 25K for copyright infringement. of course the person gets locked up but do they really pay?

      unless this spammer is close friends with Bill Gates or another of the worlds Billionaires MySpace and Facebook won’t be getting their money

    • synimatik says:

      @Scatter: While I’m not a lawyer, I am of the understanding that if someone has a judgment against them like this, it makes it difficult if not impossible to make a normal life for yourself. I would assume it would put a lien on his property of any kind and make it difficult to have a normal financial life. No?

      I know there are lawyers that read this, so can one of you add to this? Without yelling at me for having a thought about something that I’m not an expert in the field of?

    • Dondegroovily says:

      @Scatter: An explanation here:
      [www.slate.com]

    • yesteraeon says:

      @Scatter: This isn’t a fine and has nothing to do with the Justice Dept. It’s an award in a civil case brought by facebook against Mr. Wallace.

  2. mizmoose says:

    Good old Spamford Wallace. I thought they’d long since thrown him in the subbasement of an unused jail and thrown the key into the ocean.

    • floraposte says:

      @mizmoose: On the bright side, he’s been singlehandedly responsible for more filtering code than anybody else on the planet. And those of us who did learn the name Cyberpromo will never forget it (in fact, I have a DVD player from the Cyberhome brand, and I always remember it as Cyberpromo instead).

    • Trick says:

      @mizmoose:

      Oh to be back in the old days when I was a honorable mention on the NetScum pages. Old Spammy and Walt “PickleJar” Rhines sure liked to go after anyone who spoke about them in NANAE!

  3. gryklin says:

    ive met the guy. pretty nice when he’s not spamming

  4. Razor512 says:

    The government should also fine him another billion for wasting their time, then to pay it off, empty all of his accounts then force him into hard labor or some kind of government run sweat shop thats just for spammers.

    If only the government can get more involved and sue the spammers before the independent companies can, sue each spammer for 2 times the national debt and get awarded at least some of that money, and pretty soon the spammers will be put to good use by paying off our national debt.

  5. SybilDisobedience says:

    Off-topic, but that is a GREAT Halloween costume.

  6. RandomHookup says:

    Facebook wins $711 million; will collect $7.11 and a case of V!agra.

  7. krispykrink says:

    Charles Repp or Sanford Wallace, what is his real name? We need to get the name right on his “Wanted” posters.

    • premek says:

      @krispykrink: You know that the pictures that accompany articles are often strictly illustrational, not depicting the person in the article, right? The picture is simply someone in “facebook costume”

  8. riverstyxxx says:

    Won’t do any good if they can’t enforce it, the goldman family still has a judgment against oj simpson for murder..He hasnt paid a dime of it.
    It’s people like him that are the very reason I gave up on social networking many years back.

  9. UniKyrn says:

    And if he can’t pay the judgement, into the organ banks with him.

  10. dreamsneverend says:

    I think after you reach that $100 million mark you become expendable. Let’s hire some mercs and erase these guys from the planet.

    • TPK says:

      @dreamsneverend: I certainly don’t condone it, but I also have seriously wondered, as much as this guy is universally hated, how has he not yet been the object of a contract with some mob figure?

      I would not be at all surprised if he just one day disappears.

  11. jbl-az says:

    I don’t believe he is still doing this. He quit for a while to be an unsuccessful impresario or club owner or something, but he just can’t keep away from the cheap thievery.

  12. dohtem says:

    Can we just beat the fuck out of him?

  13. Rylar says:

    The irony here is that Facebook sends me spam ALL THE TIME! The rich can spam and the rest of us get sued for it. Sure spam sucks, but lets not forget how many unwanted “facebook updates” the victor in this case sends out.

    The laughable part about this lawsuit is that if Spamford ever did pay a cent of the fine (Which he won’t) the money won’t go to any of the people who got spammed.

  14. SacraBos says:

    Why can’t we finally throw this guy in jail. Him and Walt Rines have been spamming for nearly as long as I can remember, and I’m surprised that any provider, ISP, or anyone in the IT industry who hasn’t heard of him and would actually do business with him anymore.

  15. cortana says:

    Obviously if they can actually pin a criminal charge on him he should get 10 years probation with an internet-usage prohibition for the same period. After all, since his crimes materially involve internet usage, he should be restricted from its use.

  16. mbd says:

    I he was bankrupt prior to this judgment, he can’t retroactively add it now. That means that Facebook can go after every asset they can find, just like Mr. Goldberg goes after every asset of OJ that his lawyers find.

  17. StarVapor says:

    Good luck trying to collect on this court decision.

  18. edrebber says:

    I suspect the majority of this guys finances are hidden. He’s probably set for life and is enjoying the notoriety.

  19. Sheogorath says:

    @mythago:
    Sounds like a good reason to skip the country to me. Time to head to Russia. Or maybe China. They both have good markets for professional spammers.

  20. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    @H3ion: Awww, and miss out on all the lovin’ that bubba will give him?

  21. jayphat says:

    @AppleAlex: I have to make a leap of judgement and say that it’s more of a precident setting measure than anything else. In the event that someone actually earns the money that is fined in the past, then they will actually be able to penalize them the proper amount.

    Say they keep charging people the 250K sentence on copyright violations. Then along comes someone caught in a third world country who has made millions off of it. They will still be able to fine him the proper amount and have him not get off because of what was done in the past.

    This is the reason you see some companies go to court of the most stupid of things, only to settle with the victim after they win. It’s a precedent setting measure.

  22. dantsea says:

    @MikeM_inMD: You know who else liked dogs?

    Yeah. That’s right. Hit–oh, never mind.