It seems like I only hear about space-based MMO Eve Online when someone commits acts of massive moral turpitude in the game. Today's Eve Online caper, though, is special, if only for the amount of fake money involved. It seems an EVE devotee pulled off a white collar crime that netted him in-game currency equal to $45,000 American.
User "Bad Bobby" (whose nick should really have raised a red flag) spent several years building massive investment company Titans4U, then meticulously orchestrated a takeover of its board of trustees, which gave him the ability to steal the company's entire fortune: Over 850 billion ISK, or about 45,000 bucks.
From all accounts, Bobby was totally a good-player for years, genially returning profits on people's investments and building the fortune of his operation and his own reputation over years. The operations were overseen by a board of five trustees, to prevent theft, Bobby didn't have access to over 50 percent of the company's shares, until he convinced the board to issue more shares, which he controlled. He kicked the trustees out and gave himself the cash. Basically, if Madoff took off for a tropical island with his billions in loot instead of letting himself get popped, he'd be a real-world Bad Bobby.
EVE Online maintains a policy of Buyer Beware for its game, which is sort of unique in gaming. It is acknowledged that skulduggery and financial shenanigans are a part of the take-no-prisoners world of EVE, with the game's community manager CCP Wrangler saying "EVE isn't designed to just look like a cold, dark and harsh world; it's designed to be a cold, dark and harsh world." So outright cons, piracy and theft are braggable in EVE, which makes the stealing a little more lovable than typical in-game griefing. Basically, if you want your hand held, play Warcraft. If you have stones, play EVE.
My question is: Did Bad Bobby steal the loot for ingame lulz, or is there some kind of mechanism for converting the fake cash into real money? Sure, he'll be able to play EVE Online free for the rest of his life (and his children's lives, too!), but officially, there isn't a way to make PLEX into bucks. While EVE allows players to convert ISK to PLEX, and you can pay for game-time with PLEX, there isn't an official channel for turning PLEX or ISK into money. In other words, you can buy all the ISK for dollars you want, but you can't buy dollars with ISK. But Bobby seems like a clever (and patient!) guy... I wonder if he has a plan for turning his in-game currency back into cash?