A 29-year-old man from England accused of stealing virtual chips in Zynga’s Facebook poker game has found himself in some real world trouble this week. Ashley Mitchell faces five charges for his actions, which were substantial according to published reports: he allegedly stole and tried to resell 400 billion chips worth about $12 million.
Prosecutor Gareth Evans said, "The defendant sold around one third of the 400 billion poker chips and looking at the auction history where one can purchase such items he was selling them for around 430 GBP [$696 USD] per billion. By my reckoning the total value if sold on the black market of the 400 billion was in the region of 184,000 GBP [$297,840]."
Mitchell may face jail time due to a previous suspended sentence from 2008 that he will have to serve if found guilty. Given that he has plead guilty to four out of the five charges, it looks like serving jail time is a foregone conclusion.
The judge presiding over the case noted that the Zynga theft used "considerable professional expertise." The defense is claiming that the defendant was "suffering from a gambling addiction" at the time he committed the crime.