NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Lithuanian man on Wednesday pleaded guilty to u.s. charges that he helped organize a scheme to defraud Facebook Inc. and Alphabet, Inc Google-out of more than $100 million, federal prosecutors announced.
FILE PHOTO: Evaldas Rimasauskas in anticipation of a verdict announcement in his extradition case to a court in Vilnius, Lithuania, July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Andrius Sytas
Evaldas Rimasauskas, 50, entered his plea to one count of wire fraud before U. S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison at his sentencing, currently scheduled for 24 July.
Rimasauskas also agreed to the loss of roughly € 49.7 million that he personally obtained from the scheme, according to a court filing.
Paul Petrus, a lawyer for Rimasauskas, said the plea spoke for itself and declined further comment.
Rimasauskas, originally from the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, was extradited to the United States from Lithuania in August 2017.
U.S. prosecutors accused Rimasauskas and unnamed co-conspirators of bilking Google and Facebook of more than $100 million by posing as an Asian supplier of the hardware and claim that the companies to the seller money.
The prosecutors, not the name of the companies, but Taiwan-based Quanta Computer Inc. confirmed after Rimasauskas’ arrest that it is the Asian seller, and a Lithuanian in 2017 established Google and Facebook as the victims.
The scheme defrauded Google out of $23 million and Facebook of $99 million, according to that order. The prosecutors said Rimasauskas contributed to the plan by setting up a fake company and a bank account in Latvia.
The scheme is an example of a growing form of fraud called “business e-mail compromise’, in which fraudsters ask for money with the e-mails directed at companies that work with foreign suppliers or regularly transfers.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in February 2017 that the losses of such a scam since the agency began tracking them in 2013, a total of more than $3 billion.
Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler