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Man who allegedly defrauded Facebook is now an outlaw on the run

Updated 8 years ago
Published Mar 12th, 2015 8:30PM EDT
Facebook Paul Ceglia

The saga of Paul Ceglia is one for the record books. In 2010, Ceglia sued Facebook alleging that he was entitled to a 48% ownership stake in the popular social network, a stake which would have entitled him to billions of dollars.

Ceglia alleged that he had reached such an agreement with Mark Zuckerberg years earlier while the Facebook founder was then a freshman at Harvard. Incidentally, Zuckerberg and Ceglia did engage in non-Facebook related business ventures many years back.

As the case proceeded through the court system, it soon became readily apparent that Ceglia was nothing more than a career con man whose entire case rested upon fraudulent documents that he himself forged in an errant attempt to secure a cash settlement from Facebook.

Now comes word via Bloomberg that Ceglia, who had been holed up under house arrest pending his own trial for fraud, is on the run.

Marshals forced their way into Paul Ceglia’s Wellsville, New York house on Sunday after a pretrial services officer was unable to contact him. They found Ceglia’s ankle bracelet hanging from the ceiling-mounted, motorized device, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Wilson said in court papers Wednesday.

Ceglia, 41, is scheduled to go on trial May 4 in Manhattan federal court, where Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is slated to testify against him. Ceglia was ordered to wear the ankle bracelet, which tracked his movements, as a condition of his pretrial release on $250,000 bond.

Interestingly, the motorized device authorities found on the ceiling was created by Ceglia himself, its purpose being to make it appear as if he was moving throughout the house.

Believed to be with his family, Ceglia’s whereabouts are currently unknown as the search continues.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.