Facebook Calls Man Claiming 50% Ownership an ‘Inveterate Scam Artist’

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Remember Paul Ceglia? The wood pellet salesman from upstate New York claiming a 50 percent stake in Mark Zuckerberg’s slice of Facebook? A few months ago, Mr. Ceglia submitted purported evidence in the form of an e-mail exchange between himself and Zuck which, if legitimate, would appear to support his claim, perhaps entitling him to an exorbitant $13.5 billion and allowing him to join the ranks of the mighty Winklevi.

The catch is, as we previously reported, that Mr. Ceglia’s questionable past includes a history of fraud convictions.

Well, Facebook formally filed their response in the United States District Court in Buffalo, N.Y., and they didn’t pull punches, calling the whole ordeal a “brazen and outrageous fraud on the court.”

Per the New York Times:

“Plaintiff is an inveterate scam artist whose misconduct extends across decades and borders. His latest and most far-reaching fraud is the amended complaint filed in this action, which is based upon a doctored contract and fabricated evidence. Plaintiff alleges that he recently ‘discovered’ a purported contract that now supposedly entitles him to ownership of 50 percent of Zuckerberg’s interest in Facebook. The purported contract was signed in 2003, yet plaintiff waited until 2010 to file this action — a seven-year delay during which plaintiff remained utterly silent while Facebook grew into one of the world’s best-known companies. Plaintiff has now come out of the woodwork seeking billions in damages.”

Facebook’s assertion has long been that the e-mails were faked. To his efforts, Ceglia hired high-profile law firm DLA Piper to represent him to help prove the veracity of the e-mail exchange.

But this aggressive, newly hardened rhetoric could point to Zuck being plain tired of dealing with long, drawn out litigation like the Winklevoss saga. Or maybe it’s just reflective of his newfound thirst for blood.

More on TIME.com:

Viewpoint: Facebook is Not Your Friend

Even Your “Friends Only” Facebook Material Can Be Used in Court

47% of Facebook Walls Contain Profanity, But Should Employers Give a #$%?

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