Evaldas Rimasauskas, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge George Daniels on Wednesday under an agreement with prosecutors and will forfeit $49.7 million. Rimasauskas was extradited to New York in August 2017. He faces as many as 30 years in prison when he is sentenced July 24.
Prosecutors alleged that Rimasauskas, along with some unidentified co-conspirators, helped orchestrate a scheme in which fake emails were sent to employees and agents of the two tech giants. The thieves pretended to represent Taiwanese hardware maker Quanta Computer. They told Facebook and Google workers that the companies owed Quanta money, and then directed payments be sent to bank accounts controlled by the scammers.
Daniels asked Rimasauskas why the victims wired the money and whether they were promised anything in return.
“I’m not sure 100 percent because I was asked to open bank accounts,” Rimasauskas said. “After that I did not do anything with these accounts.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eun Young Choi told the judge that prosecutors don’t allege that Rimasauskas was the one who directly induced the companies to send the money.
“He created the infrastructure to further the fraudulent transfers,” Choi said.
The scheme netted about $23 million from Google in 2013 and about $98 million from Facebook in 2015, according to a person familiar with the case, who asked not to be named because the companies haven’t been publicly identified by prosecutors as the victims.