“Spam King” Pleads Guilty To Sending More Than 27M Unsolicited Facebook Messages

When your email or other messaging account is flooded with messages promising cheap$ R0lexes! and invitations to collect a million dollars from the estate of a long-lost foreign dignitary relative, it’s not easy to place the blame: is it a robot programmed for maximum annoyance? A wee, cackling, evil spam elf? Sometimes, it’s just a human: a man known as the “Spam King” has admitted in court that he’s behind more than 27 million unsolicited messages sent through Facebook’s servers.

The Las Vegas man pleaded guilty on Monday to fraud and criminal attempt, admitting that he’d committed mass spamming efforts in 2008 and 2009, San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said in a statement reported by Bloomberg.

He sent unsolicited ads disguised as friend posts over a three-month span, reports the Associated Press, collecting Facebook user account information by sending “phishing” messages to users and tricking them into providing their passwords, prosecutors said. He’d then take that info, log into their accounts and spam their friends’ Facebook walls. Unsuspecting folks who clicked the link would then be redirected to websites that paid the Spam King for the Internet traffic.

The 47-year-old also admitted that he violated a 2009 court order not to access Facebook’s computer network.

Though Facebook was awarded $711 million in damages against after suing him in 2009 under federal anti-spam laws known as CAN-SPAM, the social network never collected any money from him, due to his bankruptcy, notes Engadget.

The judge in that case recommended criminal charges, prompting a two-year FBI investigation. A grand jury subsequently charged him with electronic mail fraud, damage to protected computers and criminal contempt.

He’s now facing up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine upon his sentencing on Dec. 7 by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose.

Facebook ‘Spam King’ Guilty for Sending 27 Million Messages [Bloomberg]
‘Spam King’ Pleads Guilty To Sending 27 Million Messages To Facebook Users [Associated Press]

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