Hackers embezzle $15 million in form of FIFA coins

by Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
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A gang of hackers, including a Texas man named Anthony Clarke and his three allies, are on trial for committing wire fraud by transferring millions of dollars in form of their popular game FIFA’s in-game currency.

The FBI believes the scam was intended to deceive publisher Electronic Arts by taking down their servers and mining FIFA coins which were then to be sold to the fraudulent “black market” dealers in China or Europe. The amount that was deceitfully confiscated by Clarke and his co-defendants, Nicholas Castellucci, Ricky Miller, and Eaton Zveare, ranged from 15-18 million dollars.

FBI arrested the alleged internet crooks after seizing property and bank accounts worth an estimated $3 million which include computers, Xbox 360s, a Ford Explorer and an Audi, also charging them for being a part of a hacking organization RANE Development. The organization also has an alleged association with Xbox Underground, which is a hacker posse accused of software embezzlement from renown names such as Activision, Microsoft, and Valve.

How FIFA coins can be converted to actual currency

Almost every well-known game is bound to have its very own in-game currency earned by either completing challenges, finding loot and treasures or killing foes. Such currencies can hold a large sum in the real world, even if it can’t actually be spent in its original form. Its value can be most understood by gaming fanatics and how it earns them bragging rights, so much that they would even be willing to spend their hard earned money on purchasing virtual gaming dollars.

If you still don’t get the idea of its worth, try googling “FIFA coins” and you would see numerous third-party sellers pop up including an entire subreddit dedicated solely to trading coins.

Most criminals take this fact to their advantage and with FIFA being a well-known gaming title, drew some corrupt felons towards stealing its valued virtual coins. Every FIFA enthusiast must be well-aware of the popular player pack opening videos on YouTube. The price for these packs are either a large figure of FIFA coins or real world money. But these coins are hard to earn and are earned at a very slow rate — well, at least of you do it honestly.

According to an unsealed FBI indictment, Clark and co-defendants constructed hacking tools to trick EA’s servers and force it to release coins at a speedy rate. The crime initiated back in 2013 till September 17, 2015, stopping only when the FBI began investigating and seizing property.