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Man stole $122 million from Facebook and Google just by asking for money
Featured Image Credit: REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo

Man stole $122 million from Facebook and Google just by asking for money

This is the extraordinary story of Evaldas Rimasauskas, who managed to scam Facebook and Google out of $122 million by just asking for it

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective, and perhaps no case exemplifies this more than that of Evaldas Rimasauskas.

That being said, his plan seriously backfired on him – but more on this in a bit.

Evaldas' story is so extraordinary, it could be made into a film if it weren't for the fact that his masterful scam didn't involve any major hurdles.

You see, the tech thief managed to steal a whopping $122 million from Facebook and Google by simply asking them for the money.

Evaldas Rimasauskas fleeced the two tech giants out of $122 million.
REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo

Between 2013 and 2015, Evaldas from Lithuania received $99m from Facebook and $23m from Google by forging invoices for goods they hadn't ordered.

Amazingly, both companies paid up.

Prior to this, Evaldas had set up an incorporated company in Latvia that had more or less the same name as Quanta Computer Inc, a Taiwan-based computer and electronic hardware manufacturing firm.

According to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the tech giants conducted 'multimillion-dollar transactions' with Quanta.

But rather than paying for legitimate services, they were instead wiring money over to bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus that were controlled by Evaldas.

To explain the massive influx of money to the banks, he used forged invoices, contracts and letters that appeared to have been signed by executives and agents from Google and Facebook.

As outlined by IGN, the most shocking part of this plan is that no one from either company looked into the legitimacy of the invoices – they just paid the money.

It must have seemed too good to be true for the scammer – and that's because it was. In 2017, aged 50, Evaldas was caught by Lithuanian authorities before being extradited to New York.

He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and in 2019 he was sentenced to 60 months in prison for his criminal scheme.

The scammer had both of the companies fooled.

During the sentencing, US District Judge George Daniels also ordered Evaldas to serve two years of supervised release, to forfeit $49.7 million and to pay a reimbursement of nearly $26.5 million.

In short, his house of cards came crashing down – but the fact that he got away with it for so long served as a stark warning to tech companies about cyber security.

As said by acting US Attorney Joon Kim at the time of Evaldas' arrest: "This case should serve as a wake-up call to all companies – even the most sophisticated – that they too can be victims of phishing attacks by cyber criminals.

"And this arrest should serve as a warning to all cyber criminals that we will work to track them down, wherever they are, to hold them accountable.

The case highlighted the issue of cyber security.

"The charges and arrest in this case were made possible thanks to the terrific work of the FBI and the cooperation of the victim companies and their financial institutions.

"We thank the companies and their banks for acting quickly, coming forward promptly, and cooperating with law enforcement; it led not only to the charges announced today, but also the recovery of much of the stolen funds."

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Topics: Money, Crime, World News, Facebook, Google