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Facebook calls man's lawsuit seeking a share of the company 'a brazen and outrageous fraud'

May 26, 2011 |  3:14 pm

Facebook on Thursday fired back at a New York pellet salesman who claims he's entitled to part of Mark Zuckerberg's stake in Facebook.

In a court filing, the Palo Alto, Calif., company called a lawsuit filed by Paul Ceglia "a brazen and outrageous fraud on the court."

Zuckerberg Facebook also said Ceglia, who has had run-ins with law enforcement authorities, was "an inveterate scam artist whose misconduct extends across decades and borders."

The filing alleges that Ceglia doctored a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg that he says entitles him to up to half of Zuckerberg's stake in Facebook. Last month Ceglia fled an amended complaint in the United States District Court in Buffalo, N.Y., that included excerpts from alleged email exchanges between him and Zuckerberg that he said supported his claim.

Facebook questioned why Ceglia waited seven years to file the action "while Facebook grew into one of the world's best known companies."

It is asking the court to dismiss Ceglia's complaint and force him to pay attorney fees.

Ceglia's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

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-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg. Credit: Tony Avelar / Bloomberg News

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