A Lithuanian man posing as an employee of Taiwanese notebook computer and electronics manufacturer Quanta Computer pleaded guilty last week to being part of a scheme that fraudulently secured payments of some $23 million from Google in 2013 and about $98 million from Facebook in 2015, Chris Dolmetsch of Bloomberg reported.
Evaldas Rimasauskas, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge George Daniels, and he will forfeit $49.7 million, Dolmetsch reported.
Rimasauskas’ sentencing is scheduled for July 24, and he faces up to 30 years behind bars, Dolmetsch reported. He was extradited to New York from Lithuania in 2017.
According to Dolmetsch, prosecutors in the case— U.S. vs. Rimasauskas, 16-cr-841, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York—Rimasauskas and unidentified co-conspirators sent emails to agents of Google and Facebook, claiming to represent Quanta. They claimed that the two tech giants owed Quanta money and directed payments to be sent to bank accounts that they had created.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eun Young Choi did not accuse Rimasauskas of contacting the two companies and asking for the payments, but she did tell Daniels, “He created the infrastructure to further the fraudulent transfers,” Dolmetsch reported.
Rimasauskas admitted to taking part in the scheme between October 2013 and October 2015, posing as an employee of Quanta, creating the fake bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus and signing false contracts and documents, with Dolmetsch reporting that he told Daniels, “I fully understood that my actions were fraud.”
When asked why Google and Facebook made the payments, he said, “I’m not sure 100 percent because I was asked to open bank accounts. After that, I did not do anything with these accounts,” according to Dolmetsch.
Google said in a statement to Dolmetsch that it detected the fraud, alerted authorities and recovered its funds, and Facebook said in its own statement that recovered the bulk of its funds shortly after the incident, and it has been cooperating with law enforcement.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan said in a statement, as reported by Dolmetsch, “Rimasauskas thought he could hide behind a computer screen halfway across the world while he conducted his fraudulent scheme, but as he has learned, the arms of American justice are long, and he now faces significant time in a U.S. prison.”