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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fourth Defendant Convicted in Scheme that Defrauded Software Company of More Than $16 Million Worth of Virtual Currency

FORT WORTH, Texas – A Whittier, California, man was convicted today of wire fraud in connection with his involvement in a scheme to defraud a software company of more than $16 million, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas and Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Leslie R. Caldwell.

Anthony Clark, 24, was convicted, following a three-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor, on an indictment charging one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution.   Sentencing has been scheduled for February 27, 2017.

Evidence presented at trial showed that Clark and three co-conspirators defrauded software company Electronic Arts (EA).  EA is the publisher of a video game called FIFA Football, in which players can earn “FIFA coins,” a virtual in-game currency generally earned based on the time users spend playing FIFA Football.  Due to the popularity of FIFA Football, a secondary market has developed whereby FIFA 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.  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. 

Co-conspirators Nick Castellucci, 24, of, New Jersey; Ricky Miller, 24, of Arlington, Texas; and Eaton Zveare, 24, of Lancaster, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing. 

The FBI and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Poe and C. Heath of the Northern District of Texas and Senior Counsel Ryan Dickey of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are in charge of the prosecution. 

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Topic: 
Cyber Crime
Updated November 17, 2016