nthony Clark (24) was found guilty after a three day trial before U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor on an indictment charging one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and could face penalties of 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution when he is sentenced in February next year.
Clark was one of a group of four twenty-somethings involved in the scam but the only one to fight the case; his co-accuseds Nick Castellucci, 24; Ricky Miller, 24; and Eaton Zveare, 24, had previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
The four defrauded Electronic Arts, the publisher of a video game branded FIFA Football, in which players can earn “FIFA coins,” a virtual in-game currency generally earned based on the time users spend playing the game.
The Justice Department release explains that due to the popularity of FIFA Football, a secondary market has developed whereby FIFA virtual coins can be exchanged for U.S. currency.
“Clark and his co-conspirators circumvented multiple security mechanisms created by EA in order to fraudulently obtain FIFA coins worth over $16 million,” the Justice statement reveals. “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.
“Clark and his co-conspirators subsequently exchanged their FIFA coins on the secondary market for over $16 million.”
The FBI and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation investigated the case.