How One Man Scammed Facebook And Google Out Of A Combined $123 Million

By Danny Van Brunt

 

The Scam

A Lithuanian man scammed Facebook out of $100 million and Google out of $23 million using a technique called Business Email Compromise (but also called whaling and/or CEO fraud).

By posing as a fake hardware vendor with a similar name to Facebook and Google’s actual hardware vendor called Quanta, 50-year-old Evaldas Rimasauskas sent invoices to employees who sent the payments to banks in Latvia and Cyprus. Those payments were quickly transferred to other banks within those countries, as well as Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary and Hong Kong.

During the time of these wire transfers between 2013 and 2015, internet scams of this sort were unprecedented. Now, internet scams are more commonplace. In July 2018, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center said that since 2013, $12 billion has been scammed from companies around the world. He could face 30 years behind bars.

 

Biggest Bank Looking Out For Big Tech

J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is warning Big Tech companies that their sector will soon be regulated in similar fashion to the Big Banks following the financial crisis.

On the horizon, a variety of politicians have called for the ‘break up’ of Big Tech. There have been plenty of big fines levied against the tech sector, but it all just seems like a slap-on-the-wrist to the wealthiest companies in the world.

Dimon’s acknowledgement is in regards to some of its most valuable customers. Tech companies are great customers for investment banks. Moreover, the bank gives advice to them on acquisitions and raising capital in debt and equities markets.

 

Third Time’s A Charm

Google was handed its third fine from the EU, which is worth $1.7 billion. Last summer, Alphabet was fined $5 billion, as well as $2.7 billion in 2017.

This time, Google has been fined for blocking advertisements from competitors, which prevented them from competing and innovating fairly in the online ad market.

For a company that makes billions per month and is already considered a monopoly in many ways, the last thing Google needs to do is to thwart its rivals’ ability to innovate. If Google is the best, why does it need to squash the competition?

 

“Shooting From The Hip”

Everyone knows that “shooting from the hip” is the only way to post on Twitter. Just look at Elon Musk.

In light of tweeting various intimate details about Tesla (that were mostly false), the SEC requires Musk to have his tweets “approved” before sending them out to prevent anything that could materially impact the automaker. Unsurprisingly, Musk disregarded the SEC’s command—claiming that his tweeting constitutes free speech—and didn’t have a single tweet vetted.

For those who thought that “shooting from the hip” on Twitter was sarcasm, you have to take a look at who are the most popular people on Twitter. There are very few people more popular than Musk on the social media platform, but there’s one person in particular who is more popular and even more impulsive—and that is President Donald Trump.

 

Housing, Jobs, And Credit

Facebook’s advertisements are great for targeting specific people so that your message can reach the right individuals. However, the power is too strong and can cause serious discrimination in three different areas: housing, jobs and credit.

These three areas have legal protections from discrimination. Not allowing certain people to view ads in this case unlawfully limits certain person’s abilities to have access to the information, thus discriminating people solely based on their physical attributes.

 

EU Really Want To Merge?

Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank talks about merging have begun and, initially, there were pretty positive vibes surrounding it—besides the fact that the merge would be a very complicated one. Until now.

The EU thinks combining the two banks could create a bank “too big to fail.” Additionally, breaking up two struggling German banks still in the midst of merging sounds like a recipe for disaster.

 

Quid-Pro-Woah

Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara pushed for actress Charlotte Kirk to audition for a movie while they had a sexual relationship. Tsujihara stepped down in light of the scandal.

In the year of the ‘Me Too’ movement where Hollywood elites, like Harvey Weinstein, were taken down, the plot of this story seems too familiar. Not only in Hollywood, but across all industries, executives engaged in quid pro quo relationships to benefit each other to the detriment of others playing the game fairly.

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