‘Spam King’ Sanford Wallace Could Face 16 Years in Prison

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Sanford Wallace’s claim to fame as the Spam King dates back to the late ’90s, when his company, Cyber Promotions, became notorious for sending unsolicited junk emails to the masses.

Flash forward to 2011, and Wallace is now facing criminal charges for allegedly sending over 27 million spam messages through illegally phished Facebook accounts in 2008 and 2009.

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If convicted, Wallace, 43, could face over 16 years in prison plus $2 million in fines.

No stranger to the courts, Wallace has faced lawsuits from AOL to MySpace to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to Facebook again, the latter of which recently won a $711 million civil judgment against the king, who’s also been banned from the site. Facebook doesn’t expect him to be able to pay the superfluous amount, as he filed for bankruptcy earlier that year.

“We applaud the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI to bring spammers to justice,” Facebook said in a statement to IT World. “Now Wallace also faces serious jail time for this illegal conduct. We will continue to pursue and support both civil and criminal consequences for spammers or others who attempt to harm Facebook or the people who use our service.”

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Before Wallace made a name for himself in the ’90s, he was a notorious junk fax marketer. In 2002, he purchased a nightclub in New Hampshire and moonlit as a DJ. He was released from jail on Thursday on a $100,000 bond. His next hearing is set for August 22nd in San Jose, California.

[via IT World]

Chris Gayomali is a writer-reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @chrigz, on Facebook, or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.