Anthony Clark, a 24 year-old from California, has been convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud against a software company - Electronic Arts. The leader of a group that targeted EA's hugely-popular FIFA series, Clark's case is a vanguard for the future of videogames, where increasingly profitable titles will be a magnet for cybercriminals.
Clark's group had worked out how to trick FIFA 16's servers into thinking they'd played thousands of games in seconds, therefore earning enormous amounts of in-game coins - which would later be sold on the black market. This might sound like chump change, but prosecuting lawyers from the FBI and the IRS claimed that the group obtained and sold over $16 million dollars worth of FIFA coins this way.
From the Justice Department's press release: "Clark and his co-conspirators circumvented multiple security mechanisms created by EA in order to fraudulently obtain FIFA coins worth over $16 million. 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."
Clark's three co-conspirators - Nick Castellucci, Ricky Miller, and Eaton Zveare - have already pleaded guilty, and all four will be sentenced on February 27th 2017.