Crime, Facebook, Social Media, Social Networking Websites

Paul Ceglia Has Been Arrested

It’s been a few months since we last heard from Paul Ceglia, the guy who claims he owns a 50 percent stake in Facebook.

In August, he was getting slapped around by a federal magistrate judge, but this morning, we learned he got slapped again — with handcuffs.

It appears federal prosecutors caught wind of his, as Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio wrote, incomprehensible and vexatious tactics, so they decided to take matters into their own hands…

Forbes gives us the scoop on the mail and wire fraud charges filed against the thus far hopelessly optimistic litigant (gavel bang: Kashmir Hill):

Federal agents arrested 39-year-old Paul Ceglia at his home in Wellsville, N.Y, this morning and charged him with trying to defraud Zuckerberg and Facebook in a multi-billion scheme that involved filing a bogus lawsuit that claimed Ceglia had once been promised a 50% stake in Facebook.

According to a 13-page criminal complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan that federal prosecutors unsealed on Friday, Ceglia had fabricated and destroyed evidence to support his case.

Paul Ceglia

The criminal charges accuse Ceglia of falsifying various documents in the case — including a contract and emails — which we have previously covered in these pages.

At one level, it’s surprising to see the case flipped on its head so suddenly — and severely. (As Kash wrote to us, “Facebook must have friended the NY Attorney’s Office.”) On the other hand, the lawsuit had become so ridiculous, and Ceglia refused to relent, so something finally had to give.

Orin Snyder , a Gibson Dunn partner representing Facebook, provided the following statement (dictated, presumably, while dancing on top of his desk):

We commend the United States Attorney for charging Ceglia with federal crimes in connection with his fraudulent lawsuit against Facebook. Ceglia used the federal court system to perpetuate his fraud and will now be held accountable for his criminal scheme.

Back in August, we asked for a thrilling conclusion to this story. While the saga isn’t quite over, this ain’t a bad plot twist.

Feds Charge Paul Ceglia Of Trying To Bilk Facebook And Mark Zuckerberg [Forbes]

Earlier: Is Paul Ceglia a Glutton for Benchslaps?
Benchslap of the Day: Ceglia Gets Slammed (Yet Again)
What Are the Newest Developments in Ceglia v. Facebook? Oh Yeah, and an Interview with Paul Ceglia

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