A British man has been sentenced to two years in prison for stealing $11.4 million (£7 million) in virtual currency for the online poker game Zynga Poker.
Ashley Mitchell, from Devon, broke into the Zynga mainframe and stole the identity of two Zynga employees to transfer millions of pounds worth of in-game currency to accounts belonging to him.
He then sold the chips privately on what is described as a “black market” for cheap chips for the game. After selling around a third of the chips he was up £53,612, significantly less than what the chips were worth in-game.
Mitchell was caught because he used his own Facebook profile in one of his attempts to break into Zynga’s system despite connecting to the Wi-Fi of neighbours when he performed the hacking to keep his own connection clean.
Mitchell’s lawyer said that he’d spent most of the proceeds from selling the illegally gained chips on other online gambling sites and said gambling controlled his life.
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