We have come across many players in games like Diablo 3 who cheat and steal from others just so that they can benefit from the stolen items or loot. A duo took this a little further and allegedly made thousands of dollars from selling stolen in-game items.
Under normal circumstances, we would be telling you that Blizzard has banned so and so players for so and so reasons, but not this time.
This time the developers brought in the feds! Yes, Blizzard contacted FBI who raided the houses of the two players, arrested them, got them tried in the court and sent them off with a criminal record!
You read that right, two guys got tried in court and were released on probation because they stole virtual items.
A Los Angeles federal prosecutor, Tracy Wilkison, commented on the matter saying:
The Blizzard boards lit up with people complaining. So Blizzard brought the theft to us. Imagine you are a gamer and you have worked long and hard to get all these items. The victim watches himself lose everything.
Blizzard gave the victims the goods back. That made the loss calculation difficult because the victims were reimbursed. So instead we calculated the [perpetrators’] gain.
The two Diablo 3 players, Patrick Nepomuceno of California and Michael Stinger of Maryland, used a remote access tool (RAT) to infiltrate the other person’s account.
One of them would sent the RAT disguised as a screenshot of a rare item to a player and upon clicking it, the latter would lose control over their account.
At this point Nepomuceno would gather all the weapons, armor and gold that the victim had collected. This would then be sold off for real money.
One of the two hackers, Stinger, says that he wasn’t even in it for the money, and that his partner was the mastermind:
He just told me to share the link and I would get free items. I thought Patrick was doing some glitch. I didn’t really care, lol. I was getting free stuff. I was not driven for the money. I simply wanted to get better gear for my character: good weapons and armor.
However, Stinger has three years of probation now while Nepomuceno has two. They have also been ordered by the courts to pay $5,654.61 to Blizzard in lieu of the cost they incurred while investigating the Diablo 3 thefts.