Man steals $12 Million in Poker Chips from Facebook

Instead of earning online poker money the right way through hard work and rakeback, Ashley Mitchell chose to do it the easy/illegal way by stealing 400 billion chips from Facebook’s poker provider Zygna. Mitchell, who is an IT businessman from the UK, hacked into Zygna’s holdem poker application, then transferred 400 billion poker chips to his Facebook accounts.

So how much can 400 billion in free poker chips be worth? According to Zygna, the 400 billion chips are worth over $12 million, which makes this a pretty serious offence. What makes the situation even more serious is the fact that Mitchell went on the popular auction site eBay, and sold the chips for a tidy sum of $85,870 before being apprehended. It’s a good thing that the authorities caught him too because it’s estimated that Mitchell would have made $298,117 if he’d have sold everything.

What’s interesting about this case is that Zygna offers a free internet poker service, and the chips don’t have any monetary value between players. However, players who take Zygna poker too seriously can purchase up to $200 in chips every day from the company, which is probably what gave credence to this case in the first place.

Even still, Mitchell’s lawyers argued that the chips have no real value, and that this crime isn’t as serious as stealing actual money. The lawyers also said Mitchell makes over $100,000 annually from a free online poker room he runs called Gambino Poker, and that he could pay Zygna back through the profits he makes.

But in the end, Mitchell pleaded guilty to five computer-related charges that could earn him prison time. And Mitchell was already arrested for hacking into government computers to change his personal details, which doesn’t help his cause. Plus there is a warning on Zygna’s site about how selling poker chips can be considered a fraudulent activity. The warning reads, “You cannot buy Zynga poker chips from third-party or offline vendors. Any offers not from our website or official social networking sites listed above are fraudulent.”

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