Published: Thu, March 28, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

50-year-old pleads guilty to duping Facebook, Google

50-year-old pleads guilty to duping Facebook, Google

"Rimasauskas caused the stolen funds to be quickly wired into different bank accounts in various locations throughout the world, including Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Hong Kong", stated Geoffrey Berman, the USA attorney for the Southern District of NY.

The indictment does not identify Google and Facebook by name, but the two tech giants confirmed to NPR they are Victim-1 and Victim-2, respectively.

Prosecutors don't allege that Rimasauskas was directly responsible for convincing the companies to send the money, but believe he created the infrastructure by which the money was sent and delivered.

According to reports, a Lithuanian man named Evaldas Rimasauskas has pleaded guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money-laundering charges stemming from a $100 million scam that he pulled on Facebook and Google. Rimasauskas even mocked up emails that appeared to come from corporate executives to support his demands for payment.

"As Evaldas Rimasauskas admitted today, he devised a blatant scheme to fleece USA companies out of $100 million, and then siphoned those funds to bank accounts around the globe", said Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. He faces almost 30 years in prison depending on whether or not he's found guilty of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and three counts of money laundering charges.

So meticulous was his plan, no one at Facebook or Google checked to see if Rimasauskas's invoices were legitimate. In a NY court, he pled guilty to one count of wire fraud under an agreement with prosecutors in front of U.S. District Judge George Daniels, and will forfeit $49.7 million.

In the context of his plea agreement "representing the amount of the proceeds traceable in Count One of the indictment that the accused received personally" Rimasauskas agreed to forfeit Dollars 49,738,559.41 through wire fraud.

According to the indictment, some of the money transfers happened in New York City and involved major banks. After his guilty plea last week, he is set to face the courts to be sentenced in July for the crime which bears a maximum of 30 years in prison. Rimasauskas transferred the funds to various bank accounts around the world including Latvia, Cyprus, Hong Kong and a number of other countries soon after the money was wired into his bank accounts.

Both Facebook and Google have reportedly commented on the matter, claiming that they were able to detect fraud relatively quickly. "We recovered funds, and we are pleased that this issue has been resolved".

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