Fraud, Hacking, Privacy

“Office Space”-Inspired Online Shopping Programmer Steals $300,000 From Employer

Office Space-Inspired Online Shopping Programmer Steals $300,000 From Employer

Office Space-Inspired Online Shopping Programmer Steals $300,000 From Employer

A programmer working for an e-commerce business in Seattle, Washington, is inspired by the film Office Space to steal $300,000 from his employer by making malicious code changes to the checkout process.

He surprisingly took the same amount portrayed in the movie, and what the company’s fraud team discovered was the inspiration for his crime.

In the 1999 black comedy, Michael Bolton’s virus steals fractions of pennies from a typical 1990s software company’s accounting system. A programming bug steals $300,000 in a weekend.

According to The Register, a lawsuit was filed against Ermenildo Valdez Castro, 28, who stole $302,278.52 by manipulating the checkout process on the e-commerce website Zulily.

Castro diverted customers’ shipping fees to his Stripe.com account by altering checkout codes. He changed the code again and charged clients twice for shipping, sending half to his stripe account and half to the company (hoping it will not be noticed). Lastly, he altered Zulily.com prices to buy products for “pennies-on-the-dollar.”

The fraud occurred in 2022, when he was able to take $302,278.52 by changing the ecommerce site’s codes. Castro was terminated shortly after the company’s fraud team became aware of the fraudulent activities.

Everyone was stunned when Castro returned the company’s laptop. They have uncovered a OneNote file called “OfficeSpace Project” that details his theft plans. 

The developer is charged with two counts of first-degree theft and one count of first-degree identity theft in connection to his job at the e-commerce startup Zulily. On January 26 in King County Superior Court in Seattle, the erstwhile developer will be obliged to face his crime.