FBI Arrests Man Who Claimed 50% Stake in Facebook

FBI Arrests Man Who Claimed 50% Stake in Facebook
Source: Facebook.com

Federal agents on Friday arrested Paul Ceglia, the man who claimed he is the owner of at least half of the Facebook empire.

According to a criminal complaint filed Thursday, Ceglia allegedly manipulated a contract he had with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to state that he was entitled to a large stake in the company.

The complaint said Ceglia is being charged with mail fraud and wire fraud. The complaint states Ceglia devised a scheme to defraud Facebook and Zuckerberg by manufacturing evidence to support his false claim and destroying evidence that did not support his claim.

Ceglia filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court against Facebook and Zuckerberg on June 30, 2010 claiming he had an 84 percent interest in the company. His claim was dismissed, but he filed a revised complaint in 2011 claiming he was entitled to at least 50 percent ownership of Facebook. (Read more: Who Are Facebook's Biggest Investors?)

Zuckerberg did enter a contract with Ceglia, however, the contract was to perform programming work for Ceglia and was not related to Facebook, said the criminal complaint.

In a statement to CNBC, Orin Snyder, an attorney for Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, said: "We commend the United States Attorney for charging Ceglia with federal crimes in connection with his fraudulent lawsuit against Facebook. Ceglia used the federal court system to perpetuate his fraud and will now be held accountable for his criminal scheme." (Read more: Facebook, Zuckerberg Say Ownership Contract Forged)

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