August 08, 2011, 6:30 AM — Self-proclaimed "Spam King" Sanford Wallace – the most consistent, long-term threat to productivity and annoyance-avoidance on the Internet that does not involve pr0n or LOLcatz – turned himself in to the FBI yesterday for allegedly compromising half a million Facebook accounts and flooding their owners with junk email.
He returns to face 11 counts of fraud, intentional damage to protected computers and – potentially the charges with the longest-term impact – criminal contempt for violating more than a decade's worth of court orders to stay off social networking sites and stop sending junk email, spyware and phishing scams to consumers.
In its indictment, the FBI accuses Wallace of having gained illegal access to more than 500,000 user accounts using phishing messages that sent victims to sites that copied their user data and then spoofed their accounts as the supposed source of more than 27 million spam emails sent to Facebook members.
Facebook sued Wallace in 2009 in a case that ended with a federal judge ordering Wallace to stay off Facebook and pay the growing social network $711 million in damages.
That judgment echoed orders to cease and cut it the hell out that go back as far as a 1997 suit CompuServe won against him – a case in which the Ohio District Court felt the term "spam" was so cutting edge it had to add a footnote explaining the term came from Monty Python skit making fun of the quintessential mystery-meat product.