A 48-year-old Lithuanian man named Evaldas Rimasauskas managed to defraud internet giants Facebook and Google of $100 million over a span of two years, according to Fortune and the United States Department of Justice. How’d he do it? A little email phishing, of course.
Rimasauskas set up several accounts in Latvia and Cyprus under the name of an Asian “computer hardware manufacturer” that does business with the search giant and the social giant, according to the Justice Department. Then he set up fake email accounts pretending to be representatives of the hardware company. He used those fake accounts to request money from Google and Facebook, who wired cash his way. That kind of cash may have caused some raised eyebrows at the banks into which Rimasauskas funneled the money, but he “forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents” of Google and Facebook, according to the Justice Department. All that paperwork also came with official-looking Google and Facebook logos.
Once the money was in a bank account he owned, Rimasauskas sent it along to other accounts under his control in “Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Hong Kong.”
The two companies eventually figured out they’d sent money to fraudulent accounts, at which point the FBI got involved. Now, Rimasauskas stands charged with three counts of money laundering as well as aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. If given the maximum sentence for each of these charges, he’d face more than 80 years in prison.
For now, he’s facing extradition in Lithuania. According to Fortune, his lawyer says Rimasauskas “cannot expect a fair and impartial trial in the USA.”
We detected this fraud against our vendor management team and promptly alerted the authorities,” a Google spokesperson wrote in an email. “We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved.