Man pleads guilty to scamming Facebook and Google for over $120 million
As far as cunning schemes of theft and extortion in the world of technology go, there is no dearth of intriguing tales fit for a Hollywood blockbuster. However, for the most part, the long arm of the law ensures that these schemes don’t end well, which is something that a Lithuanian man found out the hard way when he finally pleaded guilty to scamming Facebook and Google to the tune of more than $120 million.
Evaldas Rimasauskas, a 50-year old Lithuanian man with fraudulent ambitions as immense as his name, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and confessed to partaking in a phishing scheme along with a few unnamed conspirators before U.S. District Judge George Daniels this past Wednesday.
According to the agreement that Rimasauskas made with prosecutors, he will have to forfeit a whopping $49.7 million. Extradited to the USA in August 2017, he is now scheduled to be sentenced on July 24 where he may be looking at 30 years in prison.
As far as the nitty-gritty of this scheme goes, Rmisauskas and company posed as Taiwanese hardware manufacturer Quanta Computer and sent bogus emails to employees and agents from Google and Facebook. The ruse was that the two tech giants owed money to Quanta Computer for its services (read: non-existent work), and the ensuing payments were then directed to bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus controlled by the scammers.
It is worth noting that while prosecutors did not accuse Rimasauskas of being directly responsible for fooling the two companies to give up money, they did allege that he was the one who created the system by which the money was ultimately sent and delivered.
In the end, all ends well for the two companies, as the stolen funds have been regained. In an interview with CNET, a Google spokesperson said, “We detected this fraud and promptly alerted the authorities. We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved.”