When Mark Zuckerberg was still a Harvard undergrad and was developing Facebook in his dorm, he sought help from his close friends but only very few actually stayed with him all the way through. But when Facebook became a hit, many have resorted to filing lawsuits claiming the Zuck promised them a percentage of it. One of those who claimed he is entitled to, at least, 50% of Facebook was Paul Ceglia who filed lawsuit after lawsuit presenting new evidences in court to prove his claim. The Zuck, however, only claimed Ceglia was a fraud and just recently, it seems like federal prosecutors believed him.
The court issued an arrest warrant against Paul Ceglia Friday morning. He was charged with a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud Facebook, Inc and its executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, for allegedly filing federal lawsuit falsely claiming that the Zuck promised him half of the company and fabricated new evidences to support his claims. The complaint also alleged that Ceglia destroyed the real evidences and used the U.S. Postal Service for his fraudulent claims. Federal prosecutors stepped in not because they want to help Facebook with its beef with Ceglia but because the person committed a federal crime in a bid to gain huge percentage of one of the biggest companies in the world.
“As alleged, by marching into federal court for a quick payday based on a blatant forgery, Paul Ceglia has bought himself another day in federal court for attempting a multi-billion dollar fraud against Facebook and its CEO. Ceglia’s alleged conduct not only constitutes a massive fraud attempt, but also an attempted corruption of our legal system through the manufacture of false evidence. That is always intolerable. Dressing up a fraud as a lawsuit does not immunize you from prosecution,” Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement released on Friday.
The prosecutors have been so thorough in their investigations before acquiring an arrest warrant against Ceglia. They were able to recover the real April 28, 2003 contract, which Ceglia emailed to an attorney in 2004. But contrary to his claims, the page one of the contract “does not refer to Facebook in any fashion, let alone give Ceglia a 50% interest in it.” The emails that he and Zuckerberg allegedly exchanged in 2003 couldn’t be found in Harvard University’s email servers. Moreover, forensic experts found out he had been busy deleting real evidences in a bid to support his false claims.
Paul Ceglia, 39, has been arrested in his home in Wellsville, New York, on Friday. He committed one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
[source: Press Release]