The man who claims to own half of Facebook is neck-deep in legal woes. After canceling legal proceedings at the last minute, he now has to reimburse the social network thousands.
In an effort to make billions of dollars by suing Facebook, Paul Ceglia is actually putting a large dent in his own wallet.
Federal Magistrate Leslie Foschio ordered Ceglia to pay the social network almost $90,000 in attorney fees today, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The order comes because of Ceglia's last-minute cancellation of legal depositions that Facebook had already paid its lawyers to do. Foschio also ordered Ceglia to reimburse an additional $7,000 in travel and lodging expenses for the social network's experts that were to be deposed.
Ceglia is suing Facebook with the claim that he owns half of the social network. He first filed his lawsuit against the company in 2010 saying he hired the social network's co-founder Mark Zuckerberg through a Craigslist ad in 2003 to write code for a project called StreetFax and paid Zuckerberg $1,000 for coding work; he also allegedly invested $1,000 in Zuckerberg's The Face Book project, which he claims gives him a 50 percent interest in the company.
However, things started to go south for Ceglia's case this past year. News spread in August that Ceglia allegedly fabricated e-mails and his purported contract with Zuckerberg. Then, in October, he was arrested and put in jail on fraud charges for allegedly tampering with evidence in the case. Although he has been released on bail, he faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of these criminal charges. According to the Los Angeles Times, he has pled not guilty.
This isn't the only chunk of change that Ceglia has had to shell out in his quest to own half of the social network. In February, a judge ordered Ceglia to reimburse Facebook more than $75,000 in attorneys' fees related to the case for delays in making e-mails available.
On top of Ceglia's financial woes, his head lawyer also filed a motion to withdraw from the case earlier this month. Ceglia opposed the motion and now it's up to Foschio to decide whether the lawyer can sign off. Foschio said he will decide whether to grant the motion after Monday.