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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Spammer Ordered to pay Facebook $711 million

    Facebook was awarded US$711 million in damages from a convicted spammer, but the social networking site is hoping a separate criminal action will eventually send him to jail.

     Facebook in Fabruary sued Sanford Wallace with Adam Arzoomanian and Scott Shaw for allegedly obtaining the login credentials for accounts. These were then used to send spam to those users’ friends starting around November 2008.

        The spam either linked to other phishing sites that sought to collect more Facebook accounts or linked to other commercial sites that paid spammers fro referrals.
         Facebook “doesn’t expect to receive the vast majority of the award,” according to a company blog. According to court filings, Wallace filed a bankruptcy petition earlier this year, although this was dismissed.
          However, a California court has sent a request to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute Wallace for criminal contempt. The court came up with the $711 million figure by awarding $50.00 per violation of the CAN-SPAM Act.
           Wallace is alleged to have violated a temporary restraining order as well as an injunction both granted in March ’09. The orders banned them from phishing and spamming on Facebook.
           “In addition to the judgment, he now faces possible jail time,” wrote Sam O’Rourke of Facebook’s legal team. “This is another important victory in our fight against spam.”
           Facebook is not pursuing claims against Arzoomanian and Shaw. The company may choose to close the file once the default judgment is entered against Wallace, the court filing said.

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