A Lithuanian man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and three counts of money laundering after scamming Google and Facebook out of more than $120 million.
Between 2013 and 2015, Evaldas Rimasauskas tricked Google and Facebook employees into wiring the funds into a Latvian company he created with an identical name to Asian hardware vendor Quanta Computer Inc. - claiming that the Silicon Valley companies owed the vendor money.
Using spoofed emails, Rimasauskas was able to trick the Google and Facebook employees along with the banks they worked with to make and approve payments to bank accounts owned by his Latvian company.
The scheme defrauded Google out of $23 million and Facebook out of $99 million, according to that order. Prosecutors said Rimasauskas contributed to the scheme by setting up a fake company and a bank account in Latvia. -Reuters
Rimasauskas then shuffled the money to bank accounts in Cyprus, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia and Latvia.
He was arrested in March, 2017 and extradited to the Southern District of New York in August 2017.
The scheme is known as a "business email compromise," in which fraudsters demand money after identifying individuals in key positions who work with foreign suppliers.
"As Evaldas Rimasauskas admitted today, he devised a blatant scheme to fleece U.S. companies out of over $100 million, and then siphoned those funds to bank accounts around the globe," said Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman.
According to a Justice Department press release, Rimasauskas "caused forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents of the Victim Companies, and which bore false corporate stamps embossed with the Victim Companies’ names, to be submitted to banks in support of the large volume of funds that were fraudulently transmitted via wire transfer."
Rimasauskas agreed to forfeit $49,738,559.41 to the United States as part of his plea agreement "representing the amount of proceeds traceable to the offense in Count One of the Indictment that the defendant personally obtained," via wire fraud.
He could receive a maximum of 30 years in prison if found guilty on all counts. He is scheduled to appear for sentencing on July 24 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge George B. Daniels in the Southern District of New York.