EA was the victim of a sophisticated hacking program that tapped into unearned FIFA coin funds.
That’s what the FBI has claimed, Kotaku reports, after it came to light that it is taking four men to court for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. It is alleged that the defendants, who operated under the name RANE Developments, earned in the region of $15m-$18m from the exploit between 2013 and late 2015.
In September last year the FBI seized millions in cash and several luxury cars – including a Lamborghini – from the group. Nearly $2.9m was also taken from a bank account owned by one of the accused, Anthony Clark.
The scam worked by using a tool to trick EA’s servers into thinking a game had been played, after which an amount of the virtual coin currency was awarded. The group were then able to sell this illicit virtual currency onto various other third parties.
One defendant, Ricky Miller (who was the owner of the Lamborghini), has already pleaded guilty. Their operation was uncovered with help from Austin Alcala, a member of wider hacking collective Xbox Underground. He helped the group to obtain the Xbox 360 development kits and software needed to engineer the hacking tool.
The trial kicked off yesterday.