The CEO of a bank in virtual world Eve Online has stolen in-game currency worth thousands of real dollars from his customers and traded it in for proper cash on the black market.
According to a Reuters report, the 27 year-old Australian tech worker, identified only as Richard, stole 200 billion interstellar kredits from his Ebank customers.
Richard, known online as Ricdic, then traded the embezzled virtual money with other gamers for A$6,300 on a black market site to help ease real world debts.
Word of the theft quickly spread throughout the virtual world, leading to a run on the bank as desperate customers attempted to save the interstellar kredits they had earned.
By stealing the currency Ricdic didn't actually break the rules of the game, which has a reputation for skulduggery, with players regularly carrying out heists and murder.
Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, an economics advisor to the game's creator, CPP, told Reuters: "We have never seen ourselves as gods who make the rules of social interaction."
However, it is against the rules to sell the virtual currency for real cash because, says Gudmundsson, it "unbalances the game".
The banned Richard told Reuters: "I'm not proud of it at all, that's why I didn't brag about it. But you know, if I had to do it again, I probably would've chosen the same path based on the same situation."
Virtual currency has become big business, with annual real-money sales of virtual goods estimated at around EUR1.5 billion worldwide, according to a recent a recent report from the European Network and Information Security Agency.
China has just banned the use of virtual money in the trade of real goods and services in a bid to limit its possible impact on the financial system.
Gamer steals from virtual world to pay real debts - Reuters