Evaldas Rimasauskas, a 50-year-old man from Lithuania, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, admitting he and some unnamed conspirators scammed Google and Facebook into paying over $100 million for work that never actually took place.
Posing as Quanta Computer, a Taiwan based laptop manufacturer, the phishing scheme netted $23 million from Google in 2013 and $98 million from Facebook in 2015, according to a Bloomberg report.
Prosecutors don’t allege that Rimasauskas was directly responsible for convincing the companies to send the money, but believe he created the infrastructure by which the money was sent and delivered.
According to allegations, Rimasauskas registered and incorporated a company in Latvia using the Quanta Computer name and sent fraudulent phishing emails to agents from Google and Facebook regularly involved in directing business with Quanta. He asked that money for services rendered by the real Quanta Computer be sent to a different bank account in Latvia and Cyprus, accounts controlled by Rimasauskas.
He was extradited to the US in August 2017.
“As Evaldas Rimasauskas admitted today, he devised a blatant scheme to fleece U.S. companies out of $100 million, and then siphoned those funds to bank accounts around the globe,” said Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. “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.”
“We detected this fraud and promptly alerted the authorities,” said a Google spokesperson, in a statement sent to CNET. “We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rimasauskas is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, 2019.