Lithuanian Man Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud For Theft Of Over $100 Million In Fraudulent Business Email Compromise Scheme
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced that Evaldas Rimasauskas pled guilty to a fraudulent business email compromise scheme that induced two U.S.-based Internet companies (the “Victim Companies”) to wire a total of over $100 million to bank accounts he controlled.
The two companies were not named in the press release but were described as a “multinational technology company” and a “multinational online social media company.” ZDNet’s Catalin Cimpanu names them as Facebook and Google.
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and the press release:
From 2013 through 2015, Rimasauskas, registered and incorporated a company in Latvia (“Company-2”) that bore the same name as an Asian-based computer hardware manufacturer (“Company-1”), and opened, maintained, and controlled various accounts at banks located in Latvia and Cyprus in the name of Company-2.
Thereafter, fraudulent phishing emails were sent to employees and agents of the Victim Companies, which regularly conducted multimillion-dollar transactions with Company-1, directing that money the Victim Companies owed Company-1 for legitimate goods and services be sent to Company-2’s bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus, which were controlled by Rimasauskas. These emails purported to be from employees and agents of Company-1, and were sent from email accounts that were designed to create the false appearance that they were sent by employees and agents of Company-1, but in truth and in fact, were neither sent nor authorized by Company-1. This scheme succeeded in deceiving the Victim Companies into complying with the fraudulent wiring instructions.
After the Victim Companies wired funds intended for Company-1 to Company-2’s bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus, Rimasauskas caused the stolen funds to be quickly wired into different bank accounts in various locations throughout the world, including Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Hong Kong. Rimasauskas also caused forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents of the Victim Companies, and which bore false corporate stamps embossed with the Victim Companies’ names, to be submitted to banks in support of the large volume of funds that were fraudulently transmitted via wire transfer.
Rimasauskas was arrested by Lithuanian authorities in March 2017, pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant, and was extradited to the Southern District of New York in August 2017.
Rimasauskas, 50, of Vilnius, Lithuania, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Daniels.