Let this be a lesson to anyone not prepared to grind it out and fork out the big bucks to purchase in-game aesthetics, upgrades and currency.
24-year-old Californian man Anthony Clark has been convicted of a wire fraud scheme, in which he led a group of hackers to defraud EA out of lucrative FIFA coins worth millions of dollars.
FIFA coins are a well-known and publicised in-game currency that appears in EA Sports’ FIFA franchise. It’s used to help players upgrade their teams and players, and in the increasingly competitive world of online gaming, has understandably become a highly sought after commodity.
So much so that a black market for trading FIFA coins surfaced a number of years ago, and has mutated into a multi-million dollar underground industry.
Clark and three others were accused of developing special software that logged and analysed thousands of matches in FIFA in a matter of seconds, rewarding FIFA currency to which ever account the software was being used to boost.
Clark and co would accumulate millions of dollars worth of FIFA coins, and then sell them to other dealers spread out across Europe and China. The FBI says the deals were worth more than $16 million in total.
Clark has already been convicted, with sentencing to take place in February 2017. His three co-conspirators — Nick Castellucci, 24, of New Jersey; Ricky Miller, 24, of Arlington, Texas; and Eaton Zveare, 24, of Lancaster, Virginia — pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
EA insists that any person found buying coins or pre-loaded accounts with suspiciously high coin figures will likely lead to a ban from all EA services, as this violates the company’s Terms of Service.