On-the-run Facebook fugitive ‘alive and well’

2016-08-17 09:30 - Bob Van Voris
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Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

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San Francisco - The story sounded crazy from the start: A guy from upstate New York claimed Mark Zuckerberg owed him half of Facebook, and he had the papers to prove it.

Now, it’s got even crazier.

More than a year after the man, Paul Ceglia, cut off an electronic ankle bracelet and fled federal charges that he faked documents to bolster his lawsuit against Zuckerberg, Ceglia says someone - he didn’t say who - was planning to have him killed.

In e-mails to Bloomberg that reference cult television favourites and hint at government conspiracies, Ceglia has offered new tidbits about his life as an international fugitive, along with his wife, Iasia, his two pre-teenage sons and his dog Buddy.

“I felt I had no one in government I could trust,” Ceglia wrote in one of four e-mails.

Probable Cause

Fogg said Ceglia’s case was going well when he ran. And he pointed to a New York state appeals court ruling in December that threw out Facebook’s suit against some of Ceglia’s lawyers, arguing it showed there was probable cause for his contract claim.

Fogg encouraged Ceglia to return to the US.

"To win this case, I need him home," he said.

Charles Salina, the US Marshal for western New York, didn’t return messages seeking comment. Facebook spokesperson Vanessa Chan declined to comment.

If nothing else, the e-mails, received between August 3 and August 8, put yet another twist on a tabloid-ready case that’s been featured everywhere from the Wellsville Daily Reporter to the New York Post and national TV networks.

In his e-mails, Ceglia, 43, said he was forced to flee due to a “very credible” threat that he would be arrested on new charges, jailed and killed before trial. The reason he was marked for death, he said, was fear that the trial would expose the involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency’s venture-capital arm, In-Q-Tel, in Facebook.

Ceglia’s path from his small town in western New York to international fugitive started in 2003, when he hired Zuckerberg, then a student at Harvard University, to do coding work on his StreetFax.com website. He claims he paid for half of Zuckerberg’s project, then called “The Face Book,” and that Zuckerberg used StreetFax’s search engine in the early version of the social network.

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