Zynga thief folds on $11.9m fraud

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Zynga thief folds on $11.9m fraud

Jail on the cards for problem gambler.

A 29-year-old British man faces a certain jail term after admitting he stole 400 billion gaming chips worth an estimated £7.5 million ($A11.9 million) from FarmVille maker, Zynga.

Ashley Mitchell, who runs the Facebook application Gambino Poker, had illegally accessed Zynga's servers in 2009 before draining the chips and then selling them to fund gambling debts, a British court heard this week.  

Mitchell sold the stolen chips at a discounted price, netting him just over £50,000 between June and September, 2009. 

Had police not intervened, he would have netted about £184,000 at the rate he was selling, according to a Daily Mail report.

Zynga alerted police after staff discovered many chips were disappearing. Mitchell had accessed Zynga's computers between June and August, 2009.   

Justice Phillip Wassall denied Mitchell bail on the belief that he would do it again. 

'It is inevitable you are going to prison. The question is how long for," said Phillips.

Mitchell's lawyer said the defendant's "six-figure income" was enough to pay back the money over two years.

Mitchell admitted to a charge of unauthorised .access to data with the intent to commit a crime and faces four more counts under the proceeds of crime act. 


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