Facebook Alleges Scam by Plaintiff Seeking Corporate Stake, Seeks Access to His Computers
Facebook has filed a motion claiming it needs access to the computers of a plaintiff seeking a stake in the company because they can prove his claim is fraudulent.
The motion for expedited discovery also seeks original copies of contracts and emails submitted by plaintiff Paul Ceglia, who claims they show an agreement to give him 50 percent of Facebook, Tech Crunch reports. The motion, filed in federal court in Buffalo, describes Ceglia as “a convicted felon and well-known scam artist who has spent the last decade of his life ripping people off,” the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.
Ceglia has alleged that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg agreed to give him a stake in the company in 2003 in exchange for a $1,000 investment. He claims the agreement was part of a deal for Zuckerberg to do work on an online database about street intersections.
Facebook supports its claims about Ceglia’s character with allegations of past misdeeds. In October, Ceglia paid $125,000 to resolve accusations of fraud involving a wood pellet company, without admitting guilt, the Wall Street Journal says. Facebook also alleges Ceglia was involved in land scams in Florida and New York.
Facebook is represented by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, while Ceglia is represented by DLA Piper. Lawyer Robert Brownlie of DLA Piper told the Wall Street Journal he has “100 percent confidence” the contract is authentic.