The FBI claims that the group of hackers who attacked the Electronic Arts company made use of a scam which enabled them to defraud the company. Now, the government is looking to bring down the group.
In Texas, Anthony Clark, the defendant, is going on trial on charges of conspiracy to committing wire fraud after having had worked with three other hackers which made them mine some FIFA coins from the servers of the EA sports company. The hackers then proceeded to sell the coins on the black market to people based in China and Europe. The FBI alleged that the defendant together with his friend had made $15 to $18 million off the defrauding scheme.
FIFA coins are in game version of the world currency which are used to trade for player packs and various other packs made available in the game. Users of the popular soccer series game can earn coins by playing as many games as they can or buying them after using their own real money. They are also sold in third party marketplaces. One simple search of the coins on Google will bring endless results of the trade, together with a subreddit that is solely dedicated to the trade.
One unsealed FBI indictment showed that Clark together with his friends managed to create a tool which would send some fake signals to the EA servers as spoofs, which would help them to generate more and more coins for them to sell.
After earning the coins, the team then started selling them to third party teams and that is how they managed to gain money. The scheme is believed to have started back in 2013, and it is said to have gone on until the 17th of September, 2015. This is when the FBI started taking some of the properties which belonged to the group for investigation.
In the indictment, the agency mentioned Ricky Miller, Nicholas Castellucci, and Eaton Zveare as part of their investigation. They claim that the four are part of a group called the RANE developments. Miller pled guilty back in October. The FBI seized several millions of dollars in cash and property from the group in September 2015, which included several computers and Xbox 360 gaming consoles.
They also took money from a Bank Of America account which was in Anthony Clarke’s name, which was about $2,887,362. They also seized some hundreds of thousands of cash from accounts belonging to the other three groups. Several other properties seized included a luxury car that Clarke had bought for himself.