Scandal broke (again) in the world of EVE Online as a respected virtual banker embezzled funds to sell on the black market in order to make ends meet in reality.
Richard, an Australian EVE Online player and father of two, was the in-game CEO of EBank, the largest player-run financial institution in the game. In a world where success often comes not by cooperating but by backstabbing and undermining, Richard and his corporation managed to eke their way into the ranks of the few genuinely trusted entities in EVE.
However, when he received an advertisement for one of the game’s black market economy services – trading in-game items and currency for real-world money – rather than brushing it off as a nuisance like most MMOG players do, Richard got an idea. He proceeded to embezzle approximately 200 billion ISK (EVE‘s currency) which he then sold via the black market for $6,300 Australian dollars (USD 5,100). Said funds went to cover a deposit on a home Richard was buying, as well as medical expenses for his son.
Of course, the theft didn’t go unnoticed for long. When players learned of Richard’s embezzlement, they began a run on the bank, fearing that their hard-earned cash would be stolen as well.
Richard’s account was banned by developers CCP – not for stealing the money, which is allowed in the game’s rules, but for selling it for real-world money – which is not.
While Richard expressed regret for letting down his fellow EBank staffers – many of whom he considered genuine friends – he said he would probably have done the same thing if given the chance to relive the situation. He has no plans to return to EVE Online any time soon.