You’ve got to hand it to Paul Ceglia, the man who would own Facebook. Most people, when charged with criminal fraud by the U.S. government, would abandon the civil lawsuit that got them into trouble in the first place. Not Mr. Ceglia. This onetime wood-pellet salesman is continuing his quixotic quest to claim a slice of the social network.
The Wall Street Journal reports that he’s now suing to stop the criminal proceedings against him, accusing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of violating his constitutional rights.
This is starting to sound less Law and Order, more junior varsity mock trial.
Paul Ceglia, the penny-ante hustler who once attempted to convince the world he was part owner of Facebook, has been indicted on counts of wire and mail fraud. Bloomberg reports that, after hearing the charges and evidence against Mr. Ceglia, a grand jury has deemed the U.S. attorney’s case strong enough to go to trial.
Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit claiming partial ownership of Facebook is based, in part, on a purported contract between Mr. Ceglia and Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook’s lawyers have said time and again that Mr. Ceglia’s evidence was little more than forgery, and it seems the federal government concurs. In his complaint, Postal Inspector Douglas Veatch suggests that Mr. Ceglia took an unrelated contract with Mr. Zuckerberg and simply replaced the first page with the supposed smoking gun.
But what surprised us was just how (allegedly!) sloppy his cut-and-paste job was.
Here’s what Inspector Veatch had to say:
For years, Facebook’s lawyers have been arguing that Paul Ceglia’s claim to at least half of Facebook was baseless. Even federal judges have been moved to strong language by Mr. Ceglia’s lawsuit, which offered up a Microsoft Word document of cut-and-pasted emails between him and Mark Zuckerberg as proof that he helped fund Mr. Zuckerberg’s work in the early days of development and was therefore entitled to a share of Facebook.
Today, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has come out with a surprising complaint that screams “Team Zuck.” In the complaint, the U.S. Attorney’s office has charged Mr. Ceglia with an attempt to con Facebook to the tune of several billion dollars. Mr. Ceglia, 39, was arrested in Wellsville, N.Y., this morning on one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
When Hackers Attack
When NASA’s computers get infected, government officials don’t mess around.
In a 62-page indictment unsealed in the Southern District of New York today, a number of parties, including Preet Bharara’s office, the New York office of the FBI, and NASA’s Inspector General brought charges against six Estonian nationals and one Russian national for a “massive and sophisticated” Internet fraud scheme.
The clickjackers infected 4 million computers in more than 100 countries with malware, including at least 500,00 computers in the U.S. that belonged to NASA, educational institutions, businesses and non-profits.
You Cheating Ways
Ok, this one is not about a New York tech company per say, but since its happening in our backyard and effects a ton of folks on the internet, we thought it was worth mentioning. The long and short of it, Preet Bharara of the Souther District says Full Tilt Poker and its board of directors defrauded players to the tune of $440 million.