A man currently on trial for defrauding Facebook apparently planned his escape for months, talking a judge into unfreezing some of his assets before cutting off his ankle GPS bracelet and escaping into the great unknown (upstate New York.)
Paul Ceglia gained notoriety in 2010 when he filed a lawsuit claiming he had a signed contract from Mark Zuckerberg promising him equity in exchange for a $1,000 loan to help design and develop a website that would eventually become Facebook.
He was eventually brought back to stand trial and tagged with an ankle GPS monitor. But now he's back in the wind, reportedly joined by his wife, kids and dog, after successfully executing a long con escape plan that started with a lie and ended with a "hand-made contraption." Via Bloomberg:
Marshals forced their way into Paul Ceglia's house in Wellsville, New York, on Sunday after a pretrial services officer was unable to contact him. They found Ceglia's ankle bracelet hanging from the ceiling-mounted, motorized device, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Wilson said in court papers Wednesday.
"The purpose of the contraption appeared to be to keep the bracelet in motion using a stick connected to a motor that would rotate or swing the bracelet," Wilson said in court papers, filed as part of a U.S. request opposing Ceglia's pretrial appeal of a judge's refusal to dismiss the charges.
A timer was connected to the bracelet's charger so monitors would think Ceglia was at home charging it, Wilson said.
And he may have conned the court into assisting him—he convinced a judge to modify his bail in September "so that he could access some of his real estate equity to hire lawyers," the New York Law Journal reports.
[Judge] Broderick said he now wonders whether Ceglia may be using some of the money "in connection with his flight." The judge added that freeing himself of the electronic bracelet and making a run for it "probably took a fair amount of planning."