Dude Who Tried to Shake Down Mark Zuckerberg Caught in Ecuador After Three Years on the Run

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Mark Zuckerberg testifying earlier than Congress in April 2018.
Photo: Andrew Harnik (AP)

Just a few years in the past, a person named Paul Ceglia filed a multi-million greenback lawsuit in opposition to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, claiming that the two signed a software program growth contract in 2003 with provisions conveniently giving Ceglia retroactive co-ownership of the web site. Authorities later alleged that Ceglia, an upstate New York wooden pellet salesman who has had run-ins with the regulation relating to every part from possession of 400 grams of magic mushrooms to alleged wood pellet fraud, cast that doc. He was intelligent sufficient to give a ensuing ankle bracelet the slip whereas awaiting fraud fees in 2015, and has been on the run along with his household since.

Well, till now. Bloomberg reported that the 45-year-old Ceglia has been taken into custody in Ecuador after investigators tailed his spouse again to their home-away-from-home:

Ceglia was arrested Thursday morning, U.S. legal professional Geoffrey Berman wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick. Officers recognized Ceglia’s spouse, Iasia, then adopted her residence and made the arrest, in accordance to an individual conversant in the matter. Ceglia’s lawyer in the legal case, Robert Ross Fogg, mentioned he hasn’t heard from his shopper or from regulation enforcement officers about the arrest.

“If this is true, then I’m relieved,” Fogg mentioned. “I am hoping that everyone is safe and that everybody gets back safely.”

Ceglia will seem in courtroom in Quito, the capital, inside 24 hours for a listening to on extraditing him to the U.S., Berman mentioned in the letter.

Bloomberg famous that to get to Ecuador, Ceglia “skipped out on a $250,000 bond guaranteed by his brother and parents,” which looks like a shit transfer. But hey, possibly he thought he may pay them again with all the cash he was nonetheless by some means going to get out of Zuckerberg. In 2016, Ceglia emailed Bloomberg to allow them to know he was doing just great, saying faith and a “determination to get justice has inspired me to keep going.” He additionally claimed his trial would expose the involvement of In-Q-Tel, a CIA-funded venture capital firm, in Facebook’s early growth.

According to Reuters, Ceglia’s legal protection legal professional Robert Ross Fogg mentioned that he believes there’s nonetheless a “strong case” for his shopper’s protection, and that there “truly was a contract” between Ceglia and the Facebook chief. OK.

If convicted, Ceglia may spent up to 20 years in prison on the unique fees alone, although prosecutors are doubtless to tack on further fees associated to his flight from the courts.

[Bloomberg/Reuters through the Verge]

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