“Spam King” Gets 30 Months In Jail For Sending More Than 27M Unsolicited Facebook Messages

Image courtesy of Sol Es

Though it may seem like spam messages are the stuff of giant networks of evilly cackling robots who are hell bent on beleaguering innocent people with offers for cheap erectile dysfunction medications, sometimes it’s just a human hacker. One of those humans now has more than two years of jail time to look forward to after sending more than 27 million spam messages through Facebook.

The so-called “Spam King,” who pleaded guilty to fraud and criminal attempt in August 2015, admitting that he’d committed mass spamming efforts in 2008 and 2009, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $310,628.55 in restitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced.

The man admitted that he sent unsolicited ads disguised as friend posts over a three-month span, harvesting 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 pages. Unsuspecting folks who clicked the link would then be redirected to websites that paid the Spam King for the Internet traffic. He also admitted to violating a 2009 court order to stay off of Facebook by logging in to his Facebook account while aboard a flight from Las Vegas to New York.

This wasn’t his first spam rodeo, either: he started his spammy ways back in the ’90s, sending junk fax messages. He’s also faced civil lawsuits from both MySpace (2007) and Facebook (2009), leaving him with almost $1 billion in fines that he was unable to pay.

However, this sentence marks the first time he’s been convicted of a crime, prompting prosecutors to originally push for up to 36 months of jail time.

“The defendant’s history demonstrates that he has yet to suffer a consequence — other than a default judgment that cannot be collected — for his spamming activities,” prosecutors wrote, via Ars Technica. “A sentence of 36 months’ imprisonment will impress upon the defendant the seriousness of his actions and deter him from engaging in similar conduct again.”

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