Business

Pact on Facebook riches ruled a fake

Siding with the Internet company and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio said the contract on which Paul Ceglia based his case was faked.
AP/File
Siding with the Internet company and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio said the contract on which Paul Ceglia based his case was faked.

BUFFALO — A New York man’s multibillion-dollar lawsuit claiming half-ownership of Facebook Inc. should be dismissed, a federal judge recommended Tuesday.

Siding with the Internet company and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio said the contract on which Paul Ceglia based his case was faked.

Ceglia, 39, sued in 2010 claiming that he and Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University student, signed a software development contract in 2003 that included a provision entitling Ceglia to half ownership of Facebook, now valued at $50 billion, in exchange for $1,000 in start-up money.

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The judge found that while the two did sign a contract, any references to Facebook had been added later. Zuckerberg, who had responded to Ceglia’s help-wanted ad, has said he hadn’t conceived of Facebook when he worked for Ceglia.

Foschio’s 155-page report and recommendations now go to a district judge, who will consider any objections before acting on the decision.