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Monday, 29 October 2012 10:33

Man who tried to sue Facebook arrested

Written by Nick Farrell



Charged with forgery


A New York man who sued Facebook claiming he should be entitled to half the company has been charged with forgery.

Paul Ceglia, 39, a one-time wood pellet salesman from Wellsville, New York was arrested Friday on charges he forged documents in a multibillion-dollar scheme to defraud Facebook  and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, through a lawsuit claiming a huge ownership stake in the Internet company. It looks like he fabricated evidence to support his claim to a large stake in Facebook through a 2003 deal with Zuckerberg. Ceglia sued the Silicon Valley company and its chief executive in 2010, claiming that a 2003 contract he signed with Zuckerberg entitled him to a stake in the social media network. Zuckerberg had done programming work for Ceglia's company, StreetFax.com, while at Harvard.

Facebook attorneys released emails sent by Zuckerberg to show Ceglia's claims were false. In addition forensic experts found that Ceglia had typed text into a Microsoft Word document and declared it was the text of emails with Zuckerberg. If the allegations are true then Ceglia is probably the bravest, or most stupid, of con people.  Basically he tried to take on one of the richest companies in the world with a simple forgery. But instead of trying for a small amount of dosh which would have set him up for life, he aimed for half of the company and went public. This meant that Facebook was not even given him the option of paying him off.

Ceglia had claimed that Zuckerberg shared his plans for a social networking site with him while working at StreetFax. He contended that their contract granted him part ownership in Zuckerberg's project in exchange for a $1,000 investment.
The problem was that Zuckerberg had not even conceived of the idea for Facebook until December 2003, and submitted his own emails to prove it.

Nick Farrell

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