Google and Facebook are two of the biggest corporate organisations in the world with some of the smartest minds on the planet working for them. Given their enormity and range of people working for them, one would expect these organisations never to be fooled or duped by people or other companies. But as it turns out, that’s not the case as a Lithuania-based man has managed to dupe the two tech giants into giving up a total of $122 million combined.
According to a report by Boing Boing, a Lithuanian man named Evaldas Rimasauskas defrauded Google into giving up $23 million and Facebook into giving up $99 million for the things these companies never purchased between 2013 and 2015.
How he pull off such a feat is a tale worth telling. Apparently, Rimasauskas pretended to be a Taiwanese harware maker, Quanta Computer, that had a company registered with the same name in Latvia. He then sent the two tech companies, Facebook and Google, invoice for the item he never sold. These fake invoices, as per the report, were accompanied by contracts and letters that appeared to have been signed by executives from the two companies. Additionally, he attatched spoofed emails that seemed to have been sent by executives from Google and Facebook.
Surprisingly, both the companies paid up. Since there was a large sum of money involved, both Google and Facebook used wire transfer to transfer money. With such a thorough documentation, no one from either of the two companies checked to see if the invoices and contracts were legit, which is how the goofup happened.
But his scheme didn’t stop right there. After collecting the money from the two companies, Rimasauskas stockpiled the money in five countries across Europe including Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia and Hungary.
Later, Google detected the fraud and alerted the authorities regarding the same. “We detected this fraud and promptly alerted the authorities. We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved,” a Google spokesperson told the publication.
He has now pleaded guilty to the US wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering charges and has agreed to return $50 million of the total stolen amount. While he is scheduled to appear in the court on July 29, where he is likely to face up to 30 years in prison, it remains uncertain what will happen to the remaining $72 million.