Man arrested in billion-dollar Facebook fraud case
A New York man was arrested on charges he forged documents in a multibillion-dollar scheme to defraud Facebook and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.
Paul Ceglia, a salesman from Wellsville, New York, was charged with mail fraud and wire fraud over what the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said was fabricated evidence to support his claim of a large ownership stake in Facebook.
His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
The businessman sued Facebook and its CEO in 2010 claiming a 2003 contract he signed with Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University student, entitled him to a stake in the social media company. This past March, as part of that case, Facebook released emails sent by Zuckerberg around the time of the contract to show Ceglia’s claims were false.
“Ceglia used the federal court system to perpetuate his fraud and will now be held accountable for his criminal scheme,” Orin Snyder, a partner at law firm Gibson Dunn representing Facebook and Zuckerberg in the civil case, said in a statement.
Ceglia was arrested at his home Friday morning and was to appear in federal court in Buffalo later in the day, authorities said.
Investigators for the US Postal Inspection Service, which is conducting the probe, made the arrest following Ceglia’s return this week after spending time out of the country, according to a source familiar with the matter who was not authorised to speak publicly on the case.