A US man responsible for sending more than 27 million spam emails will be checking his friend requests from a jail cell for the next two and a half years.

Spam King Sanford Wallace pleaded guilty to charges including criminal contempt and fraud relating to the use of electronic mail. As well as spending some time in prison, 47-year-old Wallace also faces having to pay a fine of over $300,000. The jail term is only three months short of the maximum three year sentence he could have been incarcerated for.

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The spam messages were sent between 2008 and 2009. Wallace turned himself in as the result of an FBI Investigation in 2011.

Wallace earned money by gaining access to peoples Facebook accounts and sending spam messages to their friends tricking them into visiting websites that he earned money from.

“Wallace illegally obtained, stored, and exploited Facebook user account information and earned money by redirecting users to other websites.  Specifically, Wallace admitted he opened a fictitious Facebook account in the name of “David Frederix” to test his spam messages and created an automated process to sign into a Facebook user’s account, retrieve a list of all of the user’s friends, and then send a message to each of the user’s friends’ Facebook accounts. The message was designed to trick legitimate Facebook account holders into accessing a website listed in the message that was purportedly from a Facebook friend. Once the user entered his or her information, the user would be redirected to an affiliate website”

For Wallace, his spam career did not begin with the internet, but back before the web was considered mainstream in the last years of the 20th Century when he used to send junk fax machine messages.

Wallace had also previously faced civil suits from MySpace and Facebook respectively in 2007 and 2009.