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Spammer Fined $873-Million in Facebook Case

Sex, drugs, spammer gets rocked and rolled for $873M

   
11:38 am on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Facebook wins $873-million judgment against spammer [latimes.com]

Reporting from San Francisco -- Facebook Inc. has struck back against spammers, winning an $873-million judgment against a Canadian man accused of sending millions of unsolicited messages about drugs and sex.
1:01 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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How do you even pay something like ?

its like every one has a few hundered million stacked away ?

jail i suppose ?

1:04 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



jail i suppose ?

I don't think it's been possible to get someone put in jail for non-payment of a debt for a hundred years or so.

Generally it's bankruptcy. Facebook won't really care about the money - this is a signal to the wider community sent out in order to protect their user-experience, it's not about the cash.

That said, if the spammer was particularly succesful, it's possible that Facebook might recover something in the bankruptcy, even if just their legal costs. That's if there are no other large creditors and if there are any recoverable assets at all.

1:39 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



First, secure the judgment, then call in the vultures . . err . . collection lawyers and asset discovery and recovery specialists.

In debt collection settings jail time may be imposed, especially when high profile scammers attempt to hide or divert assets. In such cases judges will hold defendants in contempt and incarcerate them until they cooperate ~ give up the assets.

1:48 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't think millions of sex messages will make them one million dollars. Those spammers have to run away from united states, they can't live there, every one penny they earn in the future won't belong to them.
1:54 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Great news.
2:11 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't think millions of sex messages will make them one million dollars

It depends how many millions of messages were sent, and how much % of those converted to a sale, and how much % each sale generated, and how many different direct sale programs are involved. In the e-mail spam world, yes spammers will generate 7-digit earnings.

But $873 million is an awful lot, even for a very prolific and successful spammer. And facebook is - compared to most networks - extremely clean. I've never received a single spam message on facebook, other than those hourly status messages from my cousin (The internet will regret the day she discovers Twitter)

This is a landmark case for F8, they are very clearly saying "we will catch you and we will destroy you". Good for them!

I'm trying to imagine how the perp pulled it off, and the LA Times article doesn't divulge much. Was it all conducted within the facebook network (ie, facebook messages, notifications, commentspam, etc), or was the spam delivered outside the network (email)? Stealing people's facebook passwords is enough of a phishing challenge as it is.

Now ... is that $873M in Canadian dollars?

2:33 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like a phising scheme where he then spammed the friends of the phished accounts. However, this is nothing more than a PR victory. They won't collect a dime and the ways the laws are in quebec, you can't do more than put a lien on his assets, and the judges here would have to agree to enforce the california judgement before the liens are set which they are very unlikely to do since they don't use common law like the rest of canada and the US but the french based civil law. Anyhow, if the guy was smart he's already bolted to the carribean with his cash.
2:51 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



In debt collection settings jail time may be imposed

Jeff - (sorry, bit OT) - seriously? Canadian law provides for jailtime for a judgment debt? I assume that's an extreme case - eg, the cases you highlighted - debtor is deliberately trying to dissapate assets?

2:52 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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In debt collection settings jail time may be imposed

In Canada, I don't think so. We have not had debtor prisons in more than a 100 years. I hope we never do again, that is a midevil concept. This guy will never see the inside of a Canadian prison for a civil judgement in another country.

Anyways, I heard this morning that they can't even find this guy.

[edited by: Rugles at 2:55 pm (utc) on Nov. 25, 2008]

3:03 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Jail time isn't the norm but the exception, usually reserved for those who attempt to defeat legal process by continuing their scamming ways - such as non-compliance with court issued asset "discovery orders".

It's not a matter of jail-for-debt but jail for disobeying rules of procedure, etc. Scammers are often those who find themselves in jail because playing by the rules isn't their way of doing business. So they run, hide, get caught . . and are incarcerated until they comply with discovery or turnover orders.

There are also other procedures, such as "capias ad satisfaciendum" - which is a civil "body warrant" - meant to hold people (in jail) who are attempting to flee a jurisdiction to avoid satisfying a money judgment.

So, while there are no debtors prisons that I'm aware of in civilized society there are a number of ways that debtors can find themselves in prison.

3:04 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thanks to spammers, one day, we will once again have public executions.
3:11 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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it appears fb won by default because he didn't show up to court; he could always say that he didn't receive the summons, open the case and arrange some type of settlement. in my experience, they never check for id; nor do they take signatures when they serve these things.
3:27 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't know about Canada but in the US we have the 13th amendment to protect us from being jailed because of debts.
3:33 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Jail time isn't the norm but the exception, usually reserved for those who attempt to defeat legal process by continuing their scamming ways - such as non-compliance with court issued asset "discovery orders".

I was not aware he was not in compliance, are you?

Just ignoring a civil court case in another country, will not mean you are non-compliant. The US court system is powerful, but that power ends at the border.

I kills me to defend this guy, but that judgement is just plain stupid.

[edited by: Rugles at 3:36 pm (utc) on Nov. 25, 2008]

3:34 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't know about Canada but in the US we have the 13th amendment to protect us from being jailed because of debts.

Its the same up here.

4:11 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if there are any hidden laws about sending sexually offensive material to minors... I bet there were some minors on his spam list.
4:25 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if he was tried in Canada on behalf of the Canadians spammed, if they would've had a chance to throw him behind bars for breaking the Canadian spam and privacy laws. At least they would have had a chance to collect on whatever he owns.
4:59 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month




to protect us from being jailed because of debts.

Yes, but for the third time, there are no laws preventing you from being jailed for contempt of court related to your refusal to be forthcoming about your assets. If you freely disclose your assets and are just plain broke, you don't go to jail. But what do you think the chances are that a professional spammer might play the angles?

[and FTR, Jeff practices in New Jersey, which though some people might wish it to be so, is not part of Canada ;-) ]

5:01 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"TRIED"

This was a civil case, not criminal.

I am sure if they catch up with him, they will be able to sieze his assets, if he has any.

jailed for contempt of court related to your refusal to be forthcoming about your assets.

Not sure a civil court judgement can reach across a border and force him to do anything.

[edited by: Rugles at 5:03 pm (utc) on Nov. 25, 2008]

6:21 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



OK, so no jail time, just a staightforward bankruptcy on a judgment debt if Facebook decide to enforce.

I really don't think that Facebook have any intention of actually recovering this sum or even trying to enforce judgment. It's just a message being sent out. And a good one.

6:55 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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in most cases, he doesn't have to be forthcoming about his assets; with the judgment they can freeze his bank accounts, garnish his wages, and have a sherrif kick the door down and take everything in the house until he responds by opening up the case in court and coming to a settlement or going to trial.
6:58 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yep, that sounds about right. If they can do that across an international border is another issue.
7:18 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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They cannot enforce this in Canada. First, there are no spam laws in Canada, just privacy laws. Second, Canadian courts do not hand out crazy judgements like this. If this case was in a Canadian court there is no way the judgement would be more than $50-$100k and that is a stretch. He can challenge this judgement in Canada on so many levels. Facebook will never see any money from this spammer and he will never file for bankruptcy. He just better hope he doesn't need to travel to the US any time soon!
8:02 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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great news, but i wish they'd spend equal efforts hunting down the people who stuff my letterbox with dead trees and toxic ink. surely thats a bigger nuisance?
8:15 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I don't know about Canada but in the US we have the 13th amendment to protect us from being jailed because of debts.

Yes and no. Section 1 of the 13th Amendment specifically says, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted..."
10:40 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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How does one arrive at that number? Why not $100 million? That sounds like a point well made. Maybe they could really drive the "point" home by entering a judgment in the amount of "One beeelion dollars" (pinky in mouth like Dr. Evil)

I'm all for stopping spammers don't get me wrong, but I don't think it takes $837 million dollars.

10:46 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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How does one arrive at that number?

That was the same question I had. I'm sure there are 100's of pages of legal documents with figures adding up to that total.

$873 Million? That's just $127 Million shy of $1 Billion. Heck, they could have just rounded up to the nearest billion, no big deal.

2:54 am on Nov 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This guys only hope now is to buy a small bank and ask for TARP financing to bail him out. :)
5:55 am on Nov 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Just a guess.

I don't think this guy can pay so much! So whats next? Is there a law:

Pay *** amount, Or jail for *** years?

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