Just when you think you’ve seen the last of self-proclaimed Facebook co-founder Paul Ceglia, he turned up in Ecuador.
Ceglia filed an ill-fated lawsuit against Facebook and its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, in June 2010, claiming that he and Zuckerberg signed a contract in 2003, while the latter was still at Harvard University, giving Ceglia a healthy chunk of Facebook.
However, not only was the lawsuit unsuccessful, but Ceglia ended up being charged with mail fraud and wire fraud when the contract was found to be altered.
Ceglia last appeared in the news in August 2016, when the fugitive from justice emailed Bloomberg to report that he and his family were alive and well.
Reuters reported Monday that Ceglia was arrested in Ecuador and he was fighting extradition, saying at a court hearing Saturday that his life was at risk.
Ceglia’s lawyer, Roberto Calderon, told Reuters the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Ecuador does not cover the crimes Ceglia is accused of, adding, “The judge’s resolution indicates that the extradition process continues and that he is still detained. I think the process will last 45 days.”
Following is a timeline of the Ceglia saga:
- June 2010: Ceglia files suit against Facebook and Zuckerberg, claiming that he owns 84 percent of Facebook.
- June 2011: DLA Piper drops Ceglia as a client.
- August 2011: Ceglia and his family “relocate” to Galway, Ireland.
- November 2011: U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York Judge Leslie Foschio ordered Ceglia to return from Ireland.
- February 2012: Facebook forensic experts discovered that Ceglia had concealed several email addresses during the trial proceedings, including email@example.com.
- March 2012: Milberg joined Ceglia’s legal team.
- May 2012: Milberg, Peter Skivington and Robert Calihan formally withdrew from the case.
- June 2012: Foschio dismissed five motions filed by Ceglia, granting one filed by Facebook, and gave Ceglia 10 days to persuade him why further sanctions should not be assessed for trying to delay the legal proceedings.
- August 2012: Foschio ordered Ceglia to produce what is being referred to as the “Kasowitz letter” within three days. The Kasowitz letter refers to a letter from one of the nine law firms to quit the Ceglia case, Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman, to two other firms that eventually bailed, as well—DLA Piper and Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman—warning them that Ceglia’s alleged contract with Zuckerberg was a fraud.
- October 2012: U.S. postal inspectors arrested Ceglia at his home in Wellsville, N.Y., charging him with falsifying records and destroying evidence.
- November 2012: Foschio allowed Facebook to present a forensics report concluding that the contract between Ceglia and Zuckerberg that purportedly awards Ceglia part ownership in the social network was altered.
- November 2012: Ceglia pleads not guilty to mail fraud and wire fraud, after being indicted one day earlier.
- November 2012: Foschio ordered Ceglia to reimburse Facebook for almost $90,000 in attorney fees.
- March 2013: Dean Boland’s request to withdraw as Ceglia’s lawyer is denied by a U.S. District Court judge.
- March 2013: Foschio recommended the dismissal of Ceglia’s lawsuit.
- April 2013: Joseph Alioto of California becomes Ceglia’s ninth attorney.
- November 2013: James Charles Kopp, an inmate at Cannan Federal Penitentiary, who was convicted in 2003 of murdering abortion doctor Barnett Slepian in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1998, fingered Ceglia as the trigger man in Slepian’s murder.
- March 2014: U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr. rejected Ceglia’s bid to dismiss mail fraud and wire fraud charges against him for submitting fake evidence and emails and destroying real evidence in his lawsuit against Facebook and Zuckerberg.
- March 2014: U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara ruled to grant Facebook’s motion to dismiss Ceglia’s lawsuit.
- October 2014: Facebook files suit against law firms that represented Ceglia: Ceglia’s original lawyer, Paul Argentieri, as well as lawyers from DLA Piper, Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman and Milberg.
- March 2015: Representatives from the U.S. Marshals Service entered Ceglia’s home to find that Ceglia had cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and attached it to a “hand-made contraption” that simulated movement, as well as a timer attached to the bracelet’s charger.
- April 2015: The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Ceglia’s attempt to revive his civil lawsuit.
- December 2015: The New York State Appellate Division in Manhattan dismissed Facebook’s malicious prosecution lawsuit against DLA Piper, Milberg and Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, all of which represented Ceglia.
- August 2016: Ceglia emails Bloomberg to report that he and his family are alive and well.