A man accused of faking an ownership stake in Facebook to justify a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against its founder Mark Zuckerberg has vanished.
Paul Ceglia, who was under house arrest pending his May 4 trial, jumped bail by slicing off an electronic monitoring device and creating a crude contraption to make it seem as though he was moving around inside his home, authorities said.
And the search widened Thursday: Ceglia's wife and two young sons and his family's Jack Russell terrier, Buddy, also have disappeared. U.S. marshals were looking for them. "I'm confident in our team up here," U.S. Marshal Charles F. Salina said. "He's got to get lucky every day. We've got to get lucky once."
Ceglia's federal lawsuit said he gave Zuckerberg, a student at Harvard University at the time, $1,000 in startup money in exchange for 50 percent of the future company.
But a judge dismissed his claims and prosecutors filed fraud charges after a forensic analysis of his computers and Harvard's email archive determined he had altered an unrelated contract and falsified emails to make it appear Zuckerberg had promised him a half-share.
Ceglia, who pleaded not guilty, now faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of mail fraud and wire fraud. He went missing Saturday or Sunday, but it's difficult to say exactly because he hung his electronic ankle bracelet on a motor-driven device that stretched to the ceiling and moved around, prosecutors explained in papers filed Wednesday with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.