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Paul Ceglia Arrested and Charged With Fraud Over Facebook Ownership Claims 109

whoever57 writes "The man who claimed ownership of 50% of Facebook has been arrested and charged with fraud in connection with his claims. The United States attorney in Manhattan said, 'Ceglia's alleged conduct not only constitutes a massive fraud attempt, but also an attempted corruption of our legal system through the manufacture of false evidence.' 'Dressing up a fraud as a lawsuit does not immunize you from prosecution.'"
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Paul Ceglia Arrested and Charged With Fraud Over Facebook Ownership Claims

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  • by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @04:36PM (#41782615)

    This is the kind of free speech limitation that prevents you from yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theater.

  • by tonywong ( 96839 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @04:37PM (#41782619) Homepage
    You can say what you want, but I guess it crosses the line when you try to sue someone over a false claim, and then falsify evidence as well.

    Comparing this to freedom of speech is a bit facetious.
  • Unfortunately. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by masternerdguy ( 2468142 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @04:40PM (#41782661)
    We won't be able to have a good conversation about this because most people only know the history of facebook from the "The Social Network" perspective which has been thoroughly refuted.
  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @04:41PM (#41782677)

    He lied in court papers, he prepared and filed fraudulent documents as part of evidentiary filings and then covered up their creation. Filing false statements to any court is a crime, and it's a very serious crime in federal court.

    He can say whatever he wants in private or public, but he can't lie in court. Lieing to the courts has ALWAYS been illegal. Filing false documents in court has ALWAYS been illegal. The justice system can't work if people are allowed to lie and fake documents in court without punishment.

    He's going to be lucky if he doesn't get 40 years in PMITA Federal prison.

  • Moral (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CimmerianX ( 2478270 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @04:42PM (#41782693)
    Don't try to defraud a company that works hand in hand with law enforcement to track and search people's patterns. Stick with defauding investors by selling bad mortgage instruments and nearly destroying the world economy. No one ever goes to jail for that, they just get a bailout.
  • Re:O rly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by masternerdguy ( 2468142 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @04:44PM (#41782733)
    Patent trolls acquire obscure or forgotten patents that actually exist. Those trolls OWN the patent to "a cylinder shaped electrolytic capacitor" or something stupid like that and sue people for infringement. Patent trolls abuse the patent system but they don't commit fraud.
  • No, probably not.

    If you were a cop, would you put as much effort into a case where it's very unlikely anyone would ever hear about it as you would into a case where it's likely the entire country is watching? Nobody wants to screw up when everyone's eyes are on you, but nobody outside of Littleplace, OH cares about Joe's Bike Shop. Do well, screw up, not a huge difference in rewards. But doing well or screwing up on the Facebook case can set the tone for the rest of your life.

    I can understand not being happy that the "nobodies" of the world don't get the same special attention, but the fact is that it's not just the human nature of the people doing their jobs that you're railing against, it's the nature of all the people who hear about big and little stories that lead the people doing their jobs to treat those cases differently. No conspiracy necessary for celebrities to get more attention than you or I. The extra attention is what makes them celebrities.

  • Management which has as much or more (usually more) to gain or lose from high-profile cases than the beat cop, and so will understandably put their best people on it. It goes all the way up until you finally reach somebody with a position so high that they won't be significantly affected by the outcome, and as long as they're not hearing complaints from the public, they don't care.

    Right and wrong are great, but they're a lot more fungible when it's you that it's affecting.

    Say you're a low-level investigator, on the edge of losing his house, with a wife and kids. You can spend an hour or two here and there that should have been spent on Joe's Bike Shop on the Facebook case instead to do a really bang-up job where it's going to be noticed, and maybe turn it into a promotion, or at least ensuring that you're not someone picked for the next round of layoffs. Is that such a big deal? One little hour? For your kids?

    And let's be honest, that one little hour isn't a big deal, especially if it's you that's taking that one little hour, and we probably wouldn't begrudge that one guy his chance to finally get out from under his debt even if we weren't imagining that we are that guy. But, that story plays out a thousand times, and it adds up, and people try harder on the important cases.

    And then, finally, what the fuck are you doing for Joe's Bike Shop? Because whether you know it or not, you're contributing to the attention the Facebook case is getting just by posting in this thread, or even reading it. You're eyes are seeing ads, or if you've got adblock on, by commenting in the story you're at the very least adding content to a site that's selling ads, who gets money from Facebook, who gets money from countless advertisers, who gives that money to people all over, including politicians, wh... you get the idea. You, personally, are adding to the motivation to give Facebook better justice, and are not adding that same motivation to Joe's Bike Shop, and are therefore contributing to the imbalance. The only possible way out of that is to expect people to treat two people who have vastly different potential effects on their future the same, and that's just not rational to expect of an actual person, and not just the abstraction who's not doing his job that you're probably imagining.

    Everybody acts in perfectly reasonable, understandable and if not perfectly moral, certainly not what most would call immoral ways, and aggregate effects end up shafting the little guy. That's not to say that sometimes there aren't more sinister activities and motivations, but usually, it's just emergent behavior from a whole lot of people acting the exact same way you would in their situation. High-profile people get more attention. That's not to say that we shouldn't do what we can to ensure that the little guy gets justice, we absolutely should do what we can to even things up. But there's no sense in getting all self-righteous about it. You might as well get mad that electrons orbit protons, it's just the way things are.

  • by Frodo ( 1221 ) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:59PM (#41783691) Homepage
    It's even simpler than that. 1st Amendment protects you from prosecution by the government for the fact and the content of your speech. It does not imply that you speech will have no consequences at all, including legal ones. If you damaged somebody by your speech - or intended to damage - you still can be prosecuted and sued. If, for example, you wrote a program and used it to steal money from the bank - you can not avoid prosecution claiming programming is like speech so it's protected by 1st amendment. It may be like speech, but stealing money isn't. In the same vein, saying "I own Facebook" is protected speech. Undertaking fraudulent legal actions with intent to steal Facebook's money under false premises of owning Facebook is not protected at all. Ceglia is getting a lesson about it right now.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."