A Lithuanian man who scammed Facebook and Google into sending him hundreds of millions of dollars has been sentenced to five years in prison, according to published reports Thursday (Dec. 19).
Evaldas Rimasauskas, 50, and two accomplices, engaged in a scheme in which they pretended to be employees of a Taiwanese hardware maker that was a business partner of both Facebook and Google.
They engaged in a phishing scheme, sending emails to employees and agents of the companies, seeking outstanding bills and asking the companies to send money to accounts in Latvia and Cyprus that Rimasauskas operated, according to U.S. federal prosecutors.
In a statement on Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Geoffrey Berman 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.”
According to people familiar with the case, the scheme managed to nab roughly $23 million from Google in 2013 and around $98 million from Facebook in 2015. Both companies identified themselves as victims in the scam. They said they had recovered their funds and were cooperating with law enforcement, Bloomberg reported.
In 2017, Rimasauskas was arrested in Lithuania and extradited to the U.S. He pleaded guilty, stating that, in addition to the phishing scam, he forged invoices and other documents, which he submitted to banks to support the wire transfers, according to prosecutors. His accomplices have not been identified as of Thursday.
Rimosauskas’s lawyer, Paul Petrus, said the prosecution had attempted to seek a 10-year prison sentence, but had not been able to convince the judge that Rimosauskas was the main mastermind behind the scheme.
Petrus said he hoped that law enforcement could continue the investigation and identify the “bigger fish in this particular pool.”