Google and Facebook were hit with a phishing scam that netted its architect roughly $100 million over the course of two years, and somebody suspected of being that architect has now been apprehended, brought to the United States, and arraigned for trial. 48-year-old Evaldas Rimasauskas from Lithuania is officially charged with money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and wire fraud. He entered a preliminary plea of not guilty and did not post bail, so he will stay in federal custody until his trial. With the heavy charges against him, he’s facing up to 42 years in federal prison.
It was revealed not long ago that both Google and Facebook had been hit by the scam, though they had not revealed it initially. A third party, allegedly Evaldas Rimasauskas, set up a company that shared a name with an Asian hardware supplier that extensively worked with both companies. He then proceeded to simply convince both companies, using that assumed identity, to pay for normal purchases, and gave them information for an account he had set up in Latvia for that exact purpose. Once the payments hit the account, he distributed the money across a number of international accounts to avoid detection when he withdrew and spent the money. This scam reportedly went on from 2013 to 2015 before Google and Facebook took notice of it and began investigating.
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Though neither company notified the public in any way for quite some time after the incident, both reportedly went to authorities as quickly as possible after finding out about the scam, rather than trying to go through with investigations entirely on their own. Google officially stated that it “promptly” reported the incident to local authorities and managed to get back most of the money that was stolen. Facebook also confirmed the recovery of a significant portion of the stolen funds, though neither company gave an exact amount of what was recovered. For the time being, Mr. Rimasauskas is being represented by lawyer Robert Peabody, who says that he will stick to standard procedure for this case and make sure that his client is adequately represented. His next court date is set for September 14.