Two major United States technology firms 'tricked out of $100m'

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The Department of Justice today unsealed an indictment against a Lithuanian scammer who managed to trick two American tech companies into wiring him $100 million.

The 48-year-old allegedly opened a company with the same name as a legitimate Asian manufacturer in Latvia, alongside multiple bank accounts in both the Eastern European country and Cyprus.

Using spoofed emails and the fact the two companies had identical names, between 2013 and 2015, the scammer tricked employees at the two USA companies, and even banks, into making and approving payments to his own company's bank accounts, which he quickly distributed to other bank accounts in six other countries.

Evaldas Rimasauskas, 48, was arrested last week by Lithuanian authorities and charged on Monday by prosecutors in the southern district of NY.

"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", said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim.

Rimasauskas is now facing charges of one count wire fraud and three counts of money laundering, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in the prison.

A Lithuanian man used phishing techniques to scam two major United States tech companies out of $100 million.

"Thereafter, fraudulent phishing emails were sent to employees and agents of the victim companies, which regularly conducted multimillion-dollar transactions with [the Asian] company", the Justice Department said. The US Attorney's Office for the southern district of NY announced the arrest in a press release on Tuesday. Yet it's still fun to speculate whether the multinational technology company could be a certain California-based maker of popular smartphones, while the online social media and networking services company could be a certain maker of mobile apps and websites many people log into every day.

The connection between these two was an Asian-based manufacturer of computer hardware, with which both U.S. companies had business relations.

After they wired money to Rimasauskas's Latvian company, Rimasauskas quickly transferred the funds to different accounts around the world, including in Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary and Hong Kong, prosecutors said.

FBI Assistant Director William F Sweeney Jr said: "As alleged, Evaldas Rimasauskas carried out a business email compromise scheme creatively targeting two very specific victim companies".

Most of the stolen money has been recovered, but the attack shows how vulnerable big tech companies are. He was able to forge contracts and letters with the names and signatures of executives, as well as fake a corporate stamp on his letters.



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