A Lithuanian man, Evaldas Rimasauska, conned Google and Facebook into transferring over $100m into accounts he controlled.
He sent fake invoices to Google and Facebook between 2013 and 2015.
Mr Rimasauskas and his associates posed as Quanta Computer, a hardware company based in Taiwan that had done business with Facebook and Google.
M r Rimasauskas pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court in Manhattan, where Judge George B Daniels said the charge could carry as many as 30 years in prison and a fine up $1m or twice the crime’s proceeds.
In a statement, Geoffrey S Berman, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: “As Evaldas Rimasauskas admitted today, he devised a blatant scheme to fleece US companies out of $100m, and then siphoned those funds to bank accounts around the globe.”
Mr Rimasauskas was extradited from Lithuania to the United States in 2017.
In a court appearance, Mr Rimasauskas said that he had knowingly participated in fraud and that his role was to set up the bank accounts to facilitate the scheme, Bloomberg reported.
After money was wired from the tech companies to the bank accounts in Cyprus and Latvia, the Justice Department said in its statement, Mr Rimasauskas “caused the stolen funds to be quickly wired into different bank accounts in various locations throughout the world, including Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Hong Kong.”
In emailed statements Sunday, Facebook said the company had “recovered the bulk of the funds shortly after the incident and has been cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation”.
Google said it had “detected this fraud and promptly alerted the authorities. We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved”.
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