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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.

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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.

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.

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