News Column

Facebook Litigant Arrested for Forging Documents

Oct. 26, 2012

A man who sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for 50 per cent of the social networking giant was arrested Friday on charges that he forged documents and destroyed evidence in pursuit of his claim, the US Attorney's Office said.

Paul Ceglia, 39, filed suit against Zuckerberg in 2010 claiming that they had signed a contract in 2003 for the development of an online service called The Facebook, which entitled him to 50 per cent of the company.

Zuckerberg's lawyers consistently rejected the claim, maintaining that the two had signed a contract for the development of another online service called which Ceglia later altered to refer to Facebook.

In a statement Friday, US Attorney Preet Bharara concurred with that view, saying that Ceglia "doctored, fabricated, and destroyed evidence to support his false claim."

"Ceglia simply replaced page one of the real contract with a new page one doctored to make it appear as though Zuckerberg had agreed to provide Ceglia with an interest in Facebook," the statement said.

The charges also maintain that Ceglia fabricated emails in support of his claim, and destroyed files on his computer that provided evidence of his scheme.

Ceglia, who lists his occupation as a supplier of wood pellets for heating, is charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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