Lithuanian accused of stealing $100m through Latvian company

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has accused a Lithuanian man of using a phishing scheme to defraud two US internet companies of more than $100m. The funds were funneled to bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus, linked to a small-capital limited liability company registered in Latvia. Lithuanian authorities have arrested the man following a request by the US, reported Rus.lsm.lv.

The scheme ran from 2013 to 2015, according to a Department of Justice release.

Criminal set up a clone of Taiwanese company

The release says that Evaldas Rimasauskas, 48, set up a company in Latvia, bearing a similar name to an Asia-based computer hardware manufacturer, and opened, maintained, and controlled various accounts at banks located in Latvia and Cyprus in the name of his company.

Rus.lsm.lv found out using the Crediweb.lv database that Rimasauskas had set up a company named Quanta Computer Inc. SIA. The records link its address to an apartment building in Daugavpils, a city in Latvia's east.

Rimasauskas' company was named similarly to Quanta Computer Inc, a Taiwan-based computer manufacturing firm.

Rimasauskas then sent phishing emails to employees and agents of several companies, which regularly conducted multimillion-dollar transactions with Quanta, asking that money the companies owed for legitimate goods and services be sent to bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus, which were controlled by the company.

In order to explain the massive money influx, Rimasauskas presented banks with forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents of the victim companies.

After receiving the money, Rimasauskas wired it to different bank accounts in various locations throughout the world, including Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Hong Kong.

The Latvian Quanta Computer Inc SIA was set up with a share capital of €1 on August 5, 2013 by one Vladimir A., a 1980-born Daugavpils resident.

He sold the company to Rimasauskas on August 15, Rus.lsm.lv learned on Crediweb.lv. After a month Vladimir A. was able to repay €15,700 he owed for a Renault Master vehicle. 

Rimasauskas owned the company until January 19, 2016, when its ownership was transferred to Maksim S., a 1979-born Latvian. While in November last year its ownership was transferred to Relocate Investment SIA, a Riga-based company.

According to Latvia's Enterprise Register, the company declared zero euros in its turnover during its existence.

Latvia's Revenue Service had eyed the company

At one point in time the company came under the attention of Latvia's State Revenue Service, which imposed restrictions on reorganizing and selling the company on June 26, 2015 but revoked them on October 12.

The revenue service said it needs to consult two separate departments and thus cannot provide a prompt answer.

While Latvia's Prosecutor General, which oversees international legal cooperation, was unable to offer comment.

Latvian police were informed, too

Meanwhile Māris Geida, head of the State Police office for international cooperation, confirmed that the State Police had received a request by US authorities in 2014. He said the police had cooperated with US authorities, without however specifying what actions the State Police took.

"You see, in order to start a criminal case, we would have to have a person who has suffered from fraud in Latvia report to the police," said police spokesman Dairis Anučins in reply to Rus.lsm.lv's question over whether the Latvian authorities took any action in the case following reports from abroad.

Meanwhile the Enterprise Register told Rus.lsm.lv that the registry is only required to check for similarly named companies in Latvia. The Patent Office is responsible for brand licensing, said Enterprise Register representative Anitra Gerica.

Rimasauskas is charged with one count of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison.

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