Facebook Claimant Paul Ceglia Fined $5,000

Self-described Facebook “co-owner” Paul Ceglia is about to see his bank account become $5,000 lighter, and that may just be the tip of the iceberg.

The Buffalo News reported that U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio ordered Ceglia to pay a $5,000 civil contempt fine for obstructing one of the judge’s orders by failing to provide Facebook information about his personal email accounts.

Ceglia did eventually comply with the order, after another order by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, but this apparently did not satisfy Foschio, who dismissed Ceglia’s explanations as “feeble.”

That $5,000 figure may be the least of Ceglia’s worries, as the newspaper also reported that Foschio ordered him to pay for part of Facebook’s attorney fees and expenses.

Since Ceglia’s original suit against Facebook — claiming that he signed a contract in 2003 with Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg awarding him 50 percent interest in the company — was filed June 30, 2010, he may be on the hook for “part” of a pretty big number.

Foschio said in his ruling on the fine, as reported by The Buffalo News:

The circumstances under which (Ceglia) attempted to avoid complying establishes a plain lack of respect for the court’s order, which cannot be countenanced. For whatever reasons, (Ceglia), fully advised by his attorneys not to do so, chose to knowingly ignore the unambiguous orders of the court.

Facebook Attorney Orin Snyder told The Buffalo News the company will file a motion to dismiss Ceglia’s suit.

Readers: Are you as sick of Paul Ceglia as we are?

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