Facebook and Google Staff Were Scammed Out of $100 Million

Information Age
Check your email's spam folder now, and you'll probably find at least one half-hearted attempt at a phishing scam. It might be claiming that your Mac has a virus, despite the fact you're on a PC, or it might be a Nigerian prince asking to access your Paypal account so they can deposit some money in it. Either way, they don't tend to be the most well thought out, sophisticated scams. Except when they do.

Last month, a Lithuanian man named Evaldas Rimasaukas was taken to court for fraud, identity theft and money laundering. He had posed as a Taiwanese electronics firm, sending invoices through fake email addresses in order to steal money from tech companies. He ended up pulling in more than $100 million, and it's now been revealed that the victims were Google and Facebook.

During the case, the companies were only referred to in very vague terms, leading to a lot of speculation as to who they were. To some, it might come as a shock that two of the most massive tech corporations on the planet could fall victim to a scheme like this, but when you start to look into the depth and intricacy of the heist, it makes a lot more sense.

Rimasaukas set the scheme in motion back in 2013, forging email addresses and documents and communicating with accountants from both companies until they were convinced that they needed to send him money. It wasn't until 2015 that any suspicion was aroused, by which point the $100 million was already gone, deposited into various bank accounts around the world.

He had been posing as an employee (or several employees) of Quanta, a Taiwanese computer company which has been running since 1988. Their previous clients include Apple and Amazon, so it's hardly a stretch to imagine that they would also supply Google and Facebook with hardware. Since then, both Google and Facebook have confirmed their involvement, stemming from the fact that they do indeed buy servers from the real Quanta.

While a great deal has changed since 2013, the timing of this revelation links it to the ever-increasing stream of cyber-attacks weathered by both companies, but Facebook in particular. To some, even the most colossal, monied corporations are still viable targets. As for Rimsaukas, he's currently being detained in Lithuania, awaiting extradition and facing what could be dozens of consecutive 20 year sentences, one for each count of money laundering and wire fraud.

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