Really bad call. They might not have a million hidden cameras casting a Sauron-like gaze upon every inch of every table, but social game maker Zynga is
as adept at catching a cheater as a brick and mortar casino.
Ashley Mitchell, a 29 year-old IT expert from the U.K., learned that the hard way this week when he was apprehended for hacking into a
server and stealing 400 billion chips from Facebook hit, Zynga Poker.
The hacker posed as a game administrator in 2009, reports the BBC, as a way to access the game's backend and siphon off chips. The large volume of missing chips raised a red flag for Zynga, who set up a sting operation to track him down.
Mitchell only managed to sell off about one-third of the chips -- earning roughly $85,000 -- before being caught. At his going rate of about $700 per billion chips, Mitchell stood to make a good $300,000 for the whole lot -- substantially less than the $12 million they're worth in-game.
Still, it's a hefty enough sum to put Mitchell in some seriously hot water, particularly since he had previously been handed a 40-week suspended sentence for hacking into the website of the local city council.
According to his attorney, Mitchell had been dealing with gambling issues when he committed the Zynga Poker crime. He's pled guilty to five counts of converting criminal property and faces substantial jail time if convicted.