US prosecutors have charged a cyber scammer from Lithuania with conning two tech firms into wiring him $100 million (€92.5 million)
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said that Evaldas Rimasauskas tricked staff into sending money to bank accounts under his control in a sophisticated phishing scheme that targeted the unnamed technology giants.
After registering a company in Latvia with the same name as an Asian hardware maker that ”regularly conducted multimillion-dollar transactions” with at least one of the firms, Rimasauskas used fake emails to fool staff members into transferring the money into bogus accounts that appeared to belong to the legitimate firm.
He then wired the cash to different bank accounts in locations all over the world, including Cyprus, Hong Kong, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia.
Most of the money Rimasauskas siphoned off has been recovered, according to a statement from the DoJ.
One of the companies he conned was described by prosecutors as “specialising in internet-related services and products”, while the other was a “multinational corporation providing online social media and networking services”.
The two firms were said to carry out multimillion-dollar deals on a regular basis.
Both Facebook and Twitter have not responded to requests to comment on Rimasauskas’ indictment.
Rimasauskas was arrested by Lithuanian police last week, and could face up to 20 years behind bars if convicted of wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
Acting US Attorney Joon Kim said: “From half a world away, Evaldas Rimasauskas allegedly targeted multinational internet companies and tricked their agents and employees into wiring over $100 million to overseas bank accounts under his control.
“This case should serve as a wake-up call to all companies – even the most sophisticated – that they too can be victims of phishing attacks by cyber criminals.”
FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney said: “As alleged, Evaldas Rimasauskas carried out a business email compromise scheme creatively targeting two very specific victim companies.
“He was initially successful, acquiring over $100 million in proceeds that he wired to various bank accounts worldwide. But his footprint would eventually lead investigators to the truth, and today we expose his lies.
“Criminals continue to commit a wide variety of crimes online, and significant cyber data breaches have had a negative impact across a variety of industries.
“The FBI will continue to work with our domestic and international partners to pursue criminals who engage in this type of activity, wherever they may be hiding.”