Check proves Ceglia paid Zuckerberg--what now?

The New York man who claims that he's entitled to 84 percent of Facebook has had his score boosted with the emergence of the check in question. The contract, Facebook maintains, is still a fake.

There's yet another episode to the oddball tale of Paul Ceglia, the New York man who says a 2003 contract with eventual Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg entitles him to an 84 percent share of the company: Ceglia's local newspaper, the Wellsville Daily Reporter, produced a canceled check allegedly proving that Ceglia did, indeed, pay $3,000 to someone named Mark Zuckerberg for...something.

Facebook has not said it's authentic, but it isn't disputing the authenticity of the check, either.

"We have never disputed that Mark did some work for Ceglia," a statement from Facebook read. "Everything else asserted by the plaintiff is false, and his lawsuit is frivolous, if not outright fraudulent."

Ceglia's claim, which he filed in a legal complaint in June, asserts that a contract between him and Zuckerberg for some freelance software development work ties into something called "The Face Book," and that Ceglia would be entitled to an increasing percentage of the product that he says has now reached 84 percent. Facebook initially said it believed that the contract was a "likely" forgery . It has since become more forceful and said it consider it to be an outright fake.

It gets messier: Ceglia has said he doesn't think that he would have unearthed the old contract in the first place, except that state troopers had arrived at his house to arrest him on fraud charges in a wood pellet-manufacturing start-up. Ceglia maintains that the situation was a misunderstanding.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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