Amidst a lot of recent eSports betting scandals, there is a new one which has the ever so popular FIFA franchise involved. After 4 US men illegally obtained over 16 million USD, they were caught and convicted of wire FIFA 17 fraud. This proves the point of eSports games being a good source of income for criminals. Not just with FIFA 17 but with a lot of other eSports markets such as CS:GO and League of Legends.
For example, there are numerous CS:GO skin gambling websites that are violating all sorts of regulations set up by Valve. People are able to sell their skins for real money and even bet with those skins outside of Steam. On the other hand, League of Legends has thousands of accounts with rare skins on sale for a whole heap of money. Both of these cases are illegal, but their owners found gray areas and have not yet been caught.
Unfortunately for the 24-year-old Anthony Clark of Whittier, CA, he was caught together with 3 of his colleagues after exploiting a rather admirable sum of money. More than $16 million to be precise. All 4 of them were convicted after a 3-day trial and are now waiting for their sentencing. It is scheduled 3 months from now, on February 27th to be exact. What exactly did they do, how on Earth did they get so much money and how were they caught? Let's find out!
How does FIFA 17 Ultimate Team work?
FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT from now on) is the most popular game mode in EA's franchise. Players are forming their teams by buying packs and visiting the in-game trading system. There, they can buy and sell their own players that have no use for them anymore (they acquired better ones already). Packs and transfer market (the name of the trading system) work with 2 separate currencies – coins and FIFA Points. The latter can only be obtained by making purchases from EA. Coins, on the other hand, are obtainable by playing matches (people only get around 500 coins per single match), winning leagues, selling players etc. Do you now see where we are going with this? If not, take a look at the paragraph below and everything will be clear to you.
How did they make so much money with FIFA 17 fraud?
These 4 US men got their hands on FIFA 17 source code. Afterward, they created an app that could effectively log thousands of fake matches on EA servers. This resulted in them getting a ton of coins which they sold on various illegal FIFA marketplaces. Even though a fixed coins to USD currency exchange does not exist, we know for a fact that $100k coins are worth somewhere around $20. Combine this with cca 60 million coins they claimed to made hourly and you'll get to cca $12k / h rate. Amazing… but illegal!
How did they get caught?
Well, if you are earning around $12k per hour doing illegal business, you MUST make sure you don't become suspicious. And that's pretty much where these 4 guys made a mistake. They had stored a majority of the money into several separate bank accounts. In addition to that, the group bought houses, cars and even formed a company. Little did they know that would just make them more suspicious. Keep in mind that they are not first and not last ones to go down due to FIFA 17 fraud.
There are numerous other organizations in the FIFA 17 fraud business. They are difficult to catch, especially if they know how to hide their earnings… And if their earnings are not $12k per hour. Still, more and more regulators are working on bringing them down. This just proves that illegal activities are not worth your while because you will eventually get caught.