IT TURNS OUT THAT it's very easy to get money from Facebook and Google, albeit with a pretty major drawback. A man managed to extract $172m from the companies just by invoicing, but is now facing a lengthy prison sentence for doing so.
Between 2013 and 2015 Evaldas Rimasauskas, a 50-year-old Lithuanian man, sent out a number of official-looking invoices to Google and Facebook claiming to be from legitimate hardware manufacturer Quanta Computer Inc. At the same time, he registered a company in Latvia with the same name and then opened bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus.
Once the invoices were paid, he would quickly transfer the funds to different personal accounts around the world. On top of this, he would forge invoices, contracts and letters to look as if they were from Facebook and Google to convince the banks to transfer the funds.
If you're wondering which company is more likely to pay up, then the answer is Facebook, which voluntarily paid out $99m over the duration of the con. That may sound like one hell of an accounting error, but it's the Mark Zuckerberg equivalent of dropping 20p and deciding whether or not you can be bothered to strain your knees by picking it up again.
Apparently, it can be bothered. "Facebook recovered the bulk of the funds shortly after the incident and has been cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation," a Facebook spokesperson said.
Google offered a similar statement: "We detected this fraud and promptly alerted the authorities. We recouped the funds, and we're pleased this matter is resolved."
That's interesting because as part of Rimasauskas' guilty plea, he agreed to pay back around $50m of the money, which is "the amount of proceeds traceable to the commission of the offence." But as long as Facebook and Google think they've got most of their money back, then it's probably not worth losing too much sleep over. They'll live. µ
'Some of us like the misery'
That'll surely affect its credit score