Tuesday April 23, 2019
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Man Pleads Guilty to Scamming Google, Facebook

Rimasauskas is likely to be sentenced on July 24

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

A 50-year-old man from Lithuania has pleaded guilty to scamming Google and Facebook into paying over $120 million for work that never took place.

According to a report in The New York Times on Monday, Evaldas Rimasauskas was involved in running a company that controlled several accounts at banks in Latvia and Cyprus.

Posing as Quanta Computer, a Taiwan-based laptop manufacturer, the phishing scheme netted $23 million from Google in 2013 and $98 million from Facebook in 2015.

“As Evaldas Rimasauskas admitted today, he devised a blatant scheme to fleece US companies out of $100 million, and then siphoned those funds to bank accounts around the globe,” Geoffrey S Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

“Rimasauskas thought he could hide behind a computer screen halfway across the world while he conducted his fraudulent scheme, but as he has learned, the arms of American justice are long, and he now faces significant time in a U.S. prison,” Berman was quoted as saying.

Rimasauskas, who was extradited from Lithuania to the US in 2017, faces up to 30 years in prison.

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Rimasauskas sent fraudulent phishing emails to agents from Google and Facebook regularly involved in directing business with Quanta.

After the money was wired from Google and Facebook to the bank accounts in Cyprus and Latvia, 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.”

Facebook said in a statement that the company had “recovered the bulk of the funds shortly after the incident and has been cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation.

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Google said in a statement to CNET that it had “detected this fraud and promptly alerted the authorities. We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved”.

Rimasauskas is likely to be sentenced on July 24. (IANS)

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Political ad Spend on Facebook Picks up in April

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19

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FILE - The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Political parties and their affiliates ramped up spending on social media ads ahead of the third phase of Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for Tuesday, show data released by Facebook Ad Library.

Indians spent around Rs 7 crore for running political ads on Facebook and Instagram in the first 20 days of April, while the amount spent on these platforms in February-March was about Rs 10 crore.

Facebook’s Ad Library, a searchable database, includes ads related to politics and issues of national importance run on Facebook or Instagram.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its affiliates continue to lead the ad spending on Facebook. The official BJP page took the top spot in the list of spenders on social media platforms. Of the Rs 1.3 crore that it spent on Facebook, Rs 44.32 lakh was spent during the week ending April 20.

The official Congress page on Facebook spent Rs 56.69 lakh during February-April 20.

However, supporters and affiliates of political parties account for most of the spending on the social media platforms.

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FILE – An Indian man surfs a Facebook page at an Internet cafe in New Delhi, India, Feb. 9, 2016. VOA

For example, the pro-BJP pages — Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat (Rs 2.23 core), My First Vote For Modi (Rs 1.08 crore) and Nation with NaMo (Rs 1.20 crore) among others — spent much more than the Congress.

Similarly, the pro-Congress page “Bande Mein Hai Dum” spent Rs 2.59 lakh for drumming up support for the grand old party on Facebook and the Indian Youth Congress spent Rs 6.52 lakh on the social media platform.

Among the regional parties, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the YSR Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) lead the spending table on Facebook.

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On Twitter, the accounts spending over $100 during the past week belonged to BJP MLA from Mandawa Narendra Kumar, Mumbai Congress unit chief Milind Deora, Congress leader and former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, BJD President Naveen Patnaik and the TN Youth Party.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. (IANS)