This picture taken on May 12, 2017 shows Lithuania
Lithuanian hacker, Evaldas Rimasauskas in district court in Vilnius charged after allegedly sending phishing emails to representatives of major tech firms and pretending to work for Asian company.
  • Evaldas Rimasauskas, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after being accused of orchestrating a scheme to scam Google and Facebook out of $120 million (R1.7 billion).
  • Prosecutors allege that Rimasauskas and unnamed co-conspirators impersonated a Taiwanese company called Quanta and emailed Google and Facebook fake invoices.
  • Employees then paid funds into bank accounts Rimasauskas opened around the world, according to the indictment.
  • A person familiar with the case told Bloomberg that Google had paid $23 million (R333 million) in 2013 and Facebook paid $98 million (R1.4 billion) in 2015 as part of the scheme.

A Lithuanian man accused of orchestrating a scheme to scam Google and Facebook out of R1.7 billion has pleaded guilty, federal prosecutors announced.

Evaldas Rimasauskas, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in Manhattan on Wednesday and faces up to 30 years in prison, according to Bloomberg.

Prosecutors allege in an indictment filed in New York's Southern District Court on Friday that Rimasauskas and unnamed co-conspirators impersonated a Taiwanese company called Quanta and emailed fake legal documents, including invoices and contracts, to employees of Google and Facebook.

They told the employees that the company owed Quanta money, and ordered them to pay them using wire transfers into bank accounts controlled by the scammers, according to the indictment, published by in full Buzzfeed.

The funds were paid into accounts Rimasauskas opened around the world, in places like Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Hong Kong, the indictment said.

The scheme ran from 2013 to 2015, according to the indictment.

A person familiar with the case told Bloomberg that Google had paid R333 million in 2013 and Facebook paid R1.4 billion in 2015 as part of the scheme.

Rimasauskas was extradited to New York in August 2017 after investigators learned of the scheme.

After pleading guilty last week, Rimasauskas was ordered to forfeit R710 million he personally obtained in the scheme, and will be sentenced later this year. He has also been charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

"I fully understood that my actions were fraud," Rimasauskas said at the court hearing.

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