$16 Million in Virtual Currency Stolen in Video Game

DALLAS (CN) – A Texas federal jury Wednesday convicted a computer hacker of helping to steal $16 million in virtual currency from FIFA soccer video game publisher Electronic Arts.

Anthony Clark, 24, of Whittier, Calif., was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor. He faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution at his Feb. 27, 2017 sentencing.

Clark’s three co-conspirators, Nick Castellucci, 24, of New Jersey; Ricky Miller, 24, of Arlington, Texas; and Eaton Zveare, 24, of Lancaster, Va., have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

Prosecutors said at trial that the quartet “circumvented multiple security mechanisms created by EA” to fraudulently make virtual coins in its FIFA soccer video game.

“Specifically, Clark and his co-conspirators created software that fraudulently logged thousands of FIFA Football matches within a matter of seconds, and as a result, EA computers credited Clark and his co-conspirators with improperly earned FIFA coins,” prosecutors said in a statement Thursday.

“Clark and his co-conspirators subsequently exchanged their FIFA coins on the secondary market for over $16 million.”

The coins are an in-game currency earned based on the amount of time a player spends on FIFA.

“Due to the popularity of FIFA Football, a secondary market has developed whereby FIFA coins can be exchanged for U.S. currency,” prosecutors said.

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