The man who at one point laid claim to the Facebook digital empire, on the run from authorities, has resurfaced. Paul Ceglia, potentially facing forty years in prison for attempting to defame Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg, cut off an ankle bracelet nearly one year ago to flee authorities. The fugitive, believed living outside the US, has surfaced again and the international fugitive claims government agents are trying to kill him because he could expose a plot between the US government and the social network.
Government is after him, Ceglia claims
There were apparently no proof of live pictures of Ceglia when he emailed Bloomberg recently, so it is unclear if he was wearing a tin foil hat when he referenced government conspiracies and cult television programs in explaining his story.
Ceglia claims the US Central Intelligence Agency is out to kill him after he sued Zuckerberg for 84% of Facebook in 2010. Authorities eventually said his claims were false and he was under house arrest for doctoring evidence when he, his wife, two teenage sons and dog decided to flee the grid. He claims that his current location is “far from U.S. soil to be sure.”
“I felt I had no one in government I could trust,” Ceglia wrote in one of four e-mails to Bloomberg from August 3 – 8. “An opportunity presented itself, so I MacGyver’d some things together and started running for my life.” Ceglia’s whereabouts are unknown but he is believed to be overseas based on statements made to Bloomberg.
Sounding much like the plot to the recent “Jason Borne” movie, Ceglia claims that his knowledge and potential exposure of the CIA’s investment in Facebook through a venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, is the reason for his death threats.
Ceglia needs to turn himself in in order for his case to proceed
Robert Ross Fogg, one of Ceglia’s lawyers, said his case against Zuckerberg was proceeding and had a chance when his client fled. In December a New York state appeals court ruling threw out Facebook’s suit against some of Ceglia’s lawyers, which Fogg points to as an argument that he has probable cause a contract claim.
There is acknowledgement that Zuckerberg had a 2003 contact with Ceglia regarding StreetFax, a company Ceglia owned while the two attended Harvard University. Zuckerberg working at StreetFax proceeded founding Facebook. Ceglia claims the search engine Zuckerberg built for StreetFax and other technical components were used in Facebook. In order to continue with the legal process, Fogg argues that Ceglia needs to return to the US. “To win this case, I need him home,” he said.
Ceglia, for his part, has no interest in revealing himself. He cites a “very credible threat” that if he returns to the US he would face new charges, jail and potentially be killed before a trial.
A federal judge in Buffalo, NY had previously thrown out Ceglia’s claim, saying in March of 2013 that he forged a contract and created fake emails to bolster his case. Zuckerburg has faced other high profile court cases from people who have laid claim to his empire.
“Everyone including our dog is happy and in good health,” Ceglia wrote to Bloomberg. “It has been a difficult and scary year for Iasia and I but faith in God has seen us through and a determination to get justice has inspired me to keep going.”