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Facebook and Google conned out of £77m after scammer posed as Apple supplier

IF YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE having a bad day, think yourself lucky that you weren’t one of the staffers at Facebook or Google that were tricked into handing over $100m (£77m).

News of two major tech firms being tricked by a Lithuanian man into sending him over $100m first came to light last month, but Fortune has this week revealed that the two firms in question are only bloody Facebook and Google. 

Both firms have since confirmed that this in the case. Facebook, which managed to recuperate the bulk of the stolen $100m, said in a statement: “We 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 against our vendor management team and promptly alerted the authorities”, adding that it “recouped the funds” and is “pleased this matter is resolved.”

The scammer responsible, 48-year-old Evaldas Rimasauskas,  deceived the companies from at least 2013 until 2015 by masquerading as Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Quanta Computer which supplies parts for Apple Watch and Amazon’s Kindle devices.

In March, when news of the high-profile scam first came to light, he was charged with wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

“From half a world away, Evaldas Rimasauskas allegedly targeted multinational internet companies and tricked their agents and employees into wiring over $100 million to overseas bank accounts under his control,” Acting US Attorney Joon H Kim said in March when the DoJ announced the arrest of Rimasauskas.

“This case should serve as a wake-up call to all companies – even the most sophisticated – that they too can be victims of phishing attacks by cybercriminals. And this arrest should serve as a warning to all cyber criminals that we will work to track them down, wherever they are, to hold them accountable.”

Rimasauskas was arrested is currently fighting extradition to the US, arguing that he was treated badly by the FBI officers who interrogated him and that he will not get a fair and impartial trial. µ



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