Paul Ceglia, the internet entrepreneur who claimed in federal court that Mark Zuckerberg had promised him a 50 per cent stake in Facebook, has been arrested by federal agents and charged with fraud.
Mr Ceglia is alleged to have “doctored, fabricated, and destroyed” evidence used in support of his claim, according to an investigation by the US attorney’s office of New York and the US Postal Inspection Service.
“By marching into federal court for a quick payday based on a blatant forgery, Paul Ceglia has bought himself another day in federal court for attempting a multibillion-dollar fraud against Facebook and its CEO,” said Preet Bharara, US attorney in Manhattan. “Dressing up a fraud as a lawsuit does not immunise you from prosecution.”
In his original lawsuit filed in 2010, Mr Ceglia claimed that he entered into a contract with Mr Zuckerberg in 2003 when he was still a student at Harvard, giving him $1,000 to develop a social network in exchange for partial ownership of what eventually became Facebook.