Accused Facebook spammer could face jail time

A judge referred the alleged spammer to the U.S. Attorney General's Office for criminal proceedings

An alleged spammer could face jail time in connection with a Facebook lawsuit after a judge referred him to the U.S. Attorney General's Office for criminal proceedings.

Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California referred Sanford Wallace to the U.S. Attorney General's Office for criminal proceedings for allegedly violating an injunction that prohibited him from accessing Facebook.

Facebook filed a lawsuit against Wallace and two other men in February for spamming and phishing schemes through the social-networking site. The following week, Judge Fogel issued a temporary restraining order barring Wallace and two other alleged spammers, Adam Arzoomanian and Scott Shaw, from accessing Facebook's network.

"We see Fogel's ruling as a strong deterrent against spammers. Spammers feel that they are immune from criminal prosecution. Fogel's ruling demonstrates that judges will enforce restraining orders and spammers who violate them will face criminal prosecution," said Barry Schnitt, a Facebook spokesman.

However, judgment for Facebook's ongoing civil lawsuit against Wallace has been stayed as the defendant has filed for bankruptcy.

Court judgments involving money are usually stalled when a defendant files for bankruptcy, Schnitt said.

Wallace's days as a spammer date back to the 1990s. Last May a federal judge found him and a partner guilty under the CAN-SPAM act.

He was ordered to pay US$230 million for phishing and spamming MySpace users with links to gambling and pornography Web sites.

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