FIFA has been a staple for EA for a long time. Now, according to the FBI, hackers are using FIFA to steal millions of dollars from the developers, EA. The FBI has found the alleged hacker and he’s supposed to be in court November 14 in Texas.
Defendant Anthony Clark is on trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He allegedly worked with three different hackers to mine FIFA coins from EA servers and sell those coins to the black market dealers in Europe and China. According to the FBI, Clark and the three other hackers made between $15 and $18 million during the scheme.
FIFA coins are the controversial in-game currency in FIFA. You can get awarded coins for either playing in matches or using your own money to purchase the coins. You can use the coins to buy player packs throughout the game. They are also used in a third-party market; a google for FIFA coins will bring up multiple third-party markets as well as a subreddit with the purpose of trading FIFA coins.
In an unsealed FBI indictment, Clark and the other hackers supposedly built a tool that would spoof the EA servers to believe that they were playing matches, generating these coins at a rapid pace. They then allegedly sold the coins in the third-party markets, making millions. The scheme allegedly started on a unknown date in 2013 and ended September 17, 2015 when the FBI investigated the case.
The three other alleged hackers are Ricky Miller, Nicholas Castellucci and Eaton Zveare who were hacking with Clark as a group called RANE Developments. Miller pleaded guilty in October.
In September 2015, the FBI seized millions of dollars in cash and properties from RANE Developments including several computers and Xbox 360s. The FBI also seized $2.8 million from a Bank of America account under Clark’s name and several hundred thousand from accounts under Miller’s, Zveare’s and Castellucci’s names. In addition, the FBI seized several luxury cars, including a Lamborghini from Miller that was purchased in 2014.
The group was connected to Xbox Underground who were charged with stealing from Valve and Microsoft. Xbox Underground member Austin Alcala cooperated with the FBI, stating that Clark has been calling the shots. Alcala also gave FBI access to Clark’s online accounts and messages, which helped with the indictment.