BUFFALO, N.Y., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- So much for old "friends" -- Paul Ceglia, whose claim to half of Facebook was stiff-armed by the Internet firm, is now facing criminal charges for the ordeal.
Ceglia was charged with wire and mail fraud, and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The Wellsville, N.Y., resident, who holds dual U.S. and Irish citizenship, was arrested by Postal Service agents at his home and arraigned in U.S. District Court in Buffalo Friday.
"When Mr. Ceglia allegedly decided to take advantage of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, he underestimated the resolve of the Postal Inspection Service to bring him to justice for illegal use of the U.S. Mail," USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Randall C. Till said.
Ceglia initially said he'd hired Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, to write computer code for Ceglia's website, StreetFax.com. He produced a contract, proved a fake, wherein Zuckerberg signed over half of his then-fledgling company.
Ceglia has been represented by four different law firms since he filed the claim two years ago, The Buffalo News reported Saturday. He has been hit with $98,000 in court-ordered fines, mostly from legal reimbursement fees for Facebook. Ceglia has also failed to turn over evidence from one of the law firms representing him to another, spelling out the fraudulent contract and why his initial lawyers stepped down from the case, the News said.
A subsequent search of a hard drive in Ceglia's possession found the original contract with Zuckerberg, which included no mention of Facebook, TG Daily reported.