If you're still visiting this forum, can you let us know how the website is ranking now?
From my observations the Penguin/Panda updates last year did crack down on websites using methods to rank which go against Google's guidelines.
However, I have also noticed that it seems like google has become lenient again, and these black hat techniques are working again. Maybe google is letting out some slack for people to hang themselves again?
I'm not 100% sure, but it is obvious that the spammers are ranking quite well at the moment.