Skip to main content

Gamer Pays Debt by Stealing Virtual Funds

An EVE Online gamer simply known as "Ricdic" has been kicked out of the sci-fi MMORPG due to stealing virtual funds and exchanging them for real cash. According to the EVE Online rules, players can only buy virtual money with real cash, or use the virtual funds to pay for a month's subscription, however players cannot sell virtual funds for real world dollars. What made the theft even more tragic than simple theft was that Ricdic was the CEO of EBank, the largest player-run financial institution within the game.

"It was a very on the spot decision," the married father of two explained in an interview. He said that he embezzled about 200 billion interstellar kredits and exchanged the virtual funds for $5,100 to put down as a deposit against his house and pay for the expenses related to his son's medical problems. Ricdic said that he got the idea to steal bank funds from a spam email advertising a black market website that traded virtual kredits for real cash.

"I saw that as an avenue that could be taken, and I decided to skim off the top, you could say, to overcome real life (difficulties)," he said. Once news broke out in regards to the theft, players began to panic. It's unknown whether subscribers began to withdraw funds and deposit them into another virtual institution, however Reuters reported that EBank survived the crisis.

Ned Coker of CCP, the developer behind EVE Online, said that Ricdic could have kept his subscription had he not traded the stolen funds for cash. However, the act broke the subscription service rules, and ultimately unbalances the game if not enforced, according to Coker. It was also noted that Ricdic was a highly reputable player, one of EVE's few trusted subscribers up until now.

Did Ricdic regret is actions? "I'm not proud of it at all, that's why I didn't brag about it. But you know, if I had to do it again, I probably would've chosen the same path based on the same situation," he said.