The Case of the Faux Facebook Owner
Do you have a Facebook account? Probably, and if you don’t then you definitely know people that do. It’s one of the most popular social networks in Canada, and in fact, in the rest of the world. Chances are also good that you know who created and owns the social network – Mark Zuckerberg. Well, what if someone else owned half of Facebook? That’s exactly what Paul Ceglia claimed in 2010.
“The Facebook” Fraud
Paul Ceglia, who was the owner of a wood pellet business, claimed that he was 84% owner of Facebook. He said that he and Zuckerberg entered into a contract in 2003 and that he provided the startup money ($1,000) for “The Facebook”. This story gets stranger and a lot more difficult to believe.
His Day In Court
During the proceedings in the court, there were accusations of fraud on both sides as different evidence and documents were brought to trial. Even his own attorneys turned against him and discovered that the claim was not legitimate. The courts agreed.
His Bonus Day In Court
Sometimes losing a lawsuit is not enough. In 2012, federal agents actually arrested Ceglia on charges of fraud. His fake Facebook claim, was considered criminally fraudulent. He was arrested and faced a significant prison sentence if convicted.
Bail: The Sinking Ship Goes Further Down
Ceglia had a bail hearing. The court allowed bail but with conditions. Because he was a flight risk, he had a GPS tracking device placed on him. He could be facing up to 40 years in prison. For his bond, his family put up $250,000, which they subsequently lost when the case takes that really strange turn we mentioned. In March of 2015, the authorities found that he had removed his GPS device and left it in his home. GPS trackers are smart. To avoid it indicating that it was motionless for a long period of time, Ceglia attached it to a mechanized contraption to keep it moving. Authorities believe that he built it himself. At this point, they issued a warrant for his arrest, and believe that he is now out of the country. They thought that he could be hiding in Ireland, as he had spent time living there in the past.
Where Did They All Go?
Ceglia was not the only one to disappear. His wife and two children, along with the family dog, disappeared as well. No one, including family members, has any idea where they are located at this time, but the authorities are searching diligently. Not only has he caused his mother, father, and brother to lose the $250,000 they put up for the bond, but the rest of the family is very worried about the family. There is not any evidence of foul play, but it is impossible to say what happened for certain. Given the fact that he was facing a prison sentence that could have potentially led to decades behind bars, it is understandable that he wanted to flee. In a case this large though, the authorities are not likely to give up searching for this fugitive from the law anytime soon. There was even a bounty put on his head and bounty hunters are looking for him too.
What Else Did The Expect?
This was certainly not Ceglia’s only run in with the law. In 2009, he and his wife, owners of Allegany Pellets LLC were charged with a scheme to defraud, as well as fourth degree grand larceny (12 counts). He was banned from taking advance payments from his customers, transferring assets, and destroying records or property. He certainly has a history of bad behavior. With all that creativity and hard work, we wonder how successful This family would have been if they focused their energy on something a little less criminal.
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