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A man stole $122m from Google and Facebook by invoicing them for items they had never bought

The i logo The i 26/03/2019 Benjamin Butterworth
 

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A man has admitted to stealing more than $100 million from tech giants by forging invoices for purchases the companies had never made.

He devised a blatant scheme to fleece US companies out of $100 million.

Evaldas Rimasauskas, from Lithuania, sent fraudulent demands for money to Google and Facebook between 2013 and 2015 totalling $122 million.

The companies paid the bills, after seemingly not checking if the invoices corresponded with their own records.

The 50-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in New York on Monday. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison at his sentencing, currently scheduled for 24 July.

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Google and Facebook fraud

According to US prosecutors, Mr Rimasauskas and unnamed co-conspirators posed as an Asian hardware vendor and claiming that the companies owed them money.

Lithuanian Evaldas Rimasauskas in district court in Vilnius charged after allegedly sending phishing emails to representatives of major tech firms and pretending to work for Asian company [Getty Images]Invoices were accompanied by "forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents of the Victim Companies, and which bore false corporate stamps embossed with the Victim Companies’ names, to be submitted to banks in support of the large volume of funds that were fraudulently transmitted via wire transfer," according to the US Justice Department.

Prosecutors said Mr Rimasauskas contributed to the scheme by setting up a fake company and a bank account in Latvia.

He is said to have registered a company under the name of Taiwan-based Quanta Computer Inc., which had previously done business with the Californian tech giants.

Google lost $23m to the fraud [Getty Images]The defrauded money - $99 million from Facebook and $23 million from Google - was then siphoned off to bank accounts around the world, including Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Hong Kong.

Siphoned millions

Mr Rimasauskas was extradited from Lithuania to the US in 2017 and has agreed to forfeit about $49.7 million he personally obtained from the scheme, according to a court filing.

The fate of the remaining fortune of around $75 million is unclear.

Evaldas Rimasauskas faces up to 30 years in prison [Gety Images]“As Evaldas Rimasauskas admitted today, he devised a blatant scheme to fleece US companies out of $100 million, and then siphoned those funds to bank accounts around the globe,” Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

In a statement to the New York Times, Facebook said it had “recovered the bulk of the funds shortly after the incident and has been cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation."

Google said it had “detected this fraud and promptly alerted the authorities. We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved.”

Five charges of identity theft and money laundering wagered against Mr Rimasauskas are to be dismissed at sentencing after the guilty plea for fraud, according to his lawyer.

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