Scammer Gets Five Years for $120 Million Theft From Facebook and Google
Stacks of five dollar notes pass through a carousel machine at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)  

Scammer Gets Five Years for $120 Million Theft From Facebook and Google

(Bloomberg) -- A Lithuanian man who scammed Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google into sending him more than $120 million must serve five years in prison, a judge said.

Evaldas Rimasauskas, 50, and his accomplices engaged in a phishing scheme, sending emails to employees and agents of the two tech giants that appeared to be from a major Taiwanese hardware maker that was a business partner of both companies. The e-mails sought payment for outstanding bills and asked the companies to send money to accounts in Latvia and Cyprus that were controlled by Rimasauskas, prosecutors said.

“Rimasauskas carried out his high-tech theft from halfway across the globe, but he got sentenced to prison right here in Manhattan federal court,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement Thursday.

The scheme netted about $23 million from Google in 2013 and about $98 million from Facebook in 2015, a person familiar with the case said in March. Prosecutors haven’t publicly identified the companies, but Google and Facebook have both confirmed they were victims. The companies said in March they recovered the bulk of the funds and were cooperating with law enforcement.

Rimasauskas was arrested in Lithuania in 2017 and extradited to the U.S., where he pleaded guilty. In addition to the phishing scam, he forged invoices and other documents that were submitted to banks to support the wire transfers, prosecutors said. Rimasauskas’s accomplices haven’t been identified.

Paul Petrus, a lawyer for Rimasauskas, said prosecutors had been seeking a sentence of as long as 10 years but had not convinced the judge his client was the mastermind. “The government needs to get back to work and catch the bigger fish in this particular pond,“ Petrus said.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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