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His Alleged Email Scam Swindled $100 Million. Now, He's Set To Be Extradited

Evaldas Rimasauskas walks into court in May in Vilnius, Lithuania. On Monday, the court ruled that Rimasauskas, allegedly behind a massive email scheme, must be extradited to the U.S. to stand trial.
Mindaugas Kulbis

The Lithuanian man accused of defrauding two major multinational tech companies out of more than $100 million must be extradited to the U.S., a court in Vilnius ruled Monday. Evaldas Rimasauskas has been in Lithuanian custody since March, when he was indicted by U.S. prosecutors for orchestrating a massive "fraudulent email compromise scheme."

"From half a world away, Evaldas Rimasauskas allegedly targeted multinational internet companies and tricked their agents and employees into wiring over $100 million to overseas bank accounts under his control," acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a statement announcing the Justice Department indictment earlier this year.

While the indictment does not identify the companies Rimasauskas allegedly victimized, Reuters reports that his lawyer, Snieguole Uzdanaviciene, "told reporters Facebook and Google were both mentioned in the U.S. extradition request."

In the course of its own investigation earlier this year, Fortune magazine confirmed with the two tech giants that they had been targets of the fraud, which allegedly misdirected tens of millions of dollars they owed "an Asian-based manufacturer of computer hardware." According to the indictment, Rimasauskas sent "fraudulent phishing emails" to employees, persuading them to send that money to a company he had set up in Latvia under the same name as the manufacturer.

Altogether, the Lithuanian national faces charges of wire fraud and money laundering, each of which carries a possible prison sentence of 20 years, as well as aggravated identity theft — charges that he has denied, and that Uzdanaviciene says he will appeal to a higher court in Lithuania.

"We are talking about a Lithuanian citizen," Uzdanaviciene said, according to Reuters, arguing that Rimasauskas deserves to be tried in Lithuania, not the U.S. "Material presented to the court describe him as acting on Lithuanian territory, not elsewhere, and using means and tools which were within territory of Lithuania."

Still, Aiva Surviliene, the judge who handed down the ruling Monday, says she found "enough evidence to think that Rimasauskas could have committed the deeds that he is accused of."

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Colin Dwyer covers breaking news for NPR. He reports on a wide array of subjects — from politics in Latin America and the Middle East, to the latest developments in sports and scientific research.
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