California Man Drops $1 Million in Embezzled Funds on Game of War

California Man Drops $1 Million in Embezzled Funds on Game of War

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A California man embezzled nearly $5 million, and spent a chunk of it on free-to-play mobile title, Game of War.

It's not unusual to hear a story of a gamer going overboard spending money on a free-to-play mobile game, but some people take it to new heights. Case in point: Kevin Lee Co of Sacramento. The 45-year-old recently plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering after embezzling $4.8 million from his employer over seven years.

That's egregious enough, but it turns out that in addition to using that money to purchase luxury cars, plastic surgery, home furniture, San Francisco Forty-Niners and Sacramento Kings season tickets, and a golf club membership, he also dropped about $1 million on a mobile game - specifically, Game of War. The amount came to light in a document dug up by Ars Technica and summarized on MoreLaw.

Game of War is well known for both its advertising starring supermodel Kate Upton and singer Mariah Carey and the fact that it has made as much as $1 million a day in revenues. Earlier this year, VentureBeat reported that paying members of Game of War averaged almost $550 in yearly spending.

As a result of his actions, Co is looking at a maximum of 20 years in prison for each charge (one for fraud and one for money laundering), as well as a combined $750,000 in fines. Of course, there's a plea deal in place that includes a recommendation for a reduced sentence, so there's no telling what the final outcome may be.

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Looks like Florida Man has some competition.

RaikuFA:
Looks like Florida Man has some competition.

For all the faults of Florida, I'm so glad we're not California. State is terrible in terms of money management and overall debt... I mean FL can be shit at times in some regards (we're usually 10 years behind in social trends, mass-transit options, and getting rid of outdated laws that only hurt the overall population) but we're a decent state to live in. Cost of living isn't super-high compared to average salary, except in certain areas where housing is sparse or exuberantly overpriced.
But unfortunately we get railroaded in the media because of random stupid acts of a very small and highly insignificant portion of the population.
I say this only because I've lived in California and Florida and worked the same job in both states. In CA I barely made enough to put food on the table and pay rent/utilities. In FL I could afford all that plus car insurance and save money.
I don't understand how people tolerate the way California is run...

Should get an extra 20 years for poor taste in games.

But...Game of War and its more modern day sequel Mobile strike are soooo shit :S

I don't understand, what is it about these games that make them successful?
I can actually understand in the case of candy crush because if i personally dislike puzzle games, i recognize that if you like match 3 then it provides pretty meaty substance in that area. Takes away the psychological stuff and you still have a decent game if match 3 is your thing. I can at least respect that.

But when it comes to Game of War/Mobile Strike, je ne comprends pas.
Maybe arnie and kate upton pestering you with tutorial popup messages is the epitome of fun nowadays.

A million dollars and he didn't even get to bed Kate Upton.

There comes a point where one has to admit they have a problem. This guy hit that point and kept going.

Frankster:
But...Game of War and its more modern day sequel Mobile strike are soooo shit :S

I don't understand, what is it about these games that make them successful?
I can actually understand in the case of candy crush because if i personally dislike puzzle games, i recognize that if you like match 3 then it provides pretty meaty substance in that area. Takes away the psychological stuff and you still have a decent game if match 3 is your thing. I can at least respect that.

But when it comes to Game of War/Mobile Strike, je ne comprends pas.
Maybe arnie and kate upton pestering you with tutorial popup messages is the epitome of fun nowadays.

They're not really successful when it comes to the aspect of bringing in a loyal following. They're successful, because they cater to the minority population, that have really serious addiction issues. Had a friend's friend who sank almost all of her savings into Cafe World, for instance, when those stupid little Facebook games became a reality.

I knew a lot of people that played Cafe World, but I only knew a few that were actually willing to spend real money on them. And those are the people that are catered to.

Good grief.
If your gonna have an addiction for a strategy game, at least put it in a strategy game that's worth it!
XCOM? The early Total War games?
If I had that much money, I could buy the best computer you could have possibly wanted!
I still don't understand people.

But can he play it in prison?

Also:

...the fact that it has made as much as $1 million a day in revenues.

Is it because he dropped the money in one go?

GarouxBloodline:

Frankster:
But...Game of War and its more modern day sequel Mobile strike are soooo shit :S

I don't understand, what is it about these games that make them successful?
I can actually understand in the case of candy crush because if i personally dislike puzzle games, i recognize that if you like match 3 then it provides pretty meaty substance in that area. Takes away the psychological stuff and you still have a decent game if match 3 is your thing. I can at least respect that.

But when it comes to Game of War/Mobile Strike, je ne comprends pas.
Maybe arnie and kate upton pestering you with tutorial popup messages is the epitome of fun nowadays.

They're not really successful when it comes to the aspect of bringing in a loyal following. They're successful, because they cater to the minority population, that have really serious addiction issues. Had a friend's friend who sank almost all of her savings into Cafe World, for instance, when those stupid little Facebook games became a reality.

I knew a lot of people that played Cafe World, but I only knew a few that were actually willing to spend real money on them. And those are the people that are catered to.

Yeah I played GoW and MS for about 10 minutes just to get some in game currency in other mobile games. ( basically had to rush to HQ lvl5 ) It seemed decently in depth and complicated with a lot to research and stuff. What was weird is it took me through this tutorial of repeatedly upgrading things over and over again and yet it never prompted me to go attack anyone or show my base being attacked, it's like they wanted to indoctrinate you to this endless upgrade loop before ever even introducing the game or "fun" aspect of it. Also the countless barrage of ads buy gems/bundles/whatvever cluttering the main screen at all times wasn't very appealing either.

He should be forced to play Game of War, but be locked out of microtransactions.

I honestly can't decide if this is hilarious or just sad. Maybe both? The fact he apparently stole millions to fund his stupid habit, rather then say, spending the money on something worthwhile or even just retiring. I almost wish this had been his own money so going broke would have been his punishment, but then there wouldn't have been anything to punish other then his own poor judgement.

Dalisclock:
I honestly can't decide if this is hilarious or just sad. Maybe both? The fact he apparently stole millions to fund his stupid habit, rather then say, spending the money on something worthwhile or even just retiring. I almost wish this had been his own money so going broke would have been his punishment, but then there wouldn't have been anything to punish other then his own poor judgement.

He stole a lot more than just 1 million USD - so I wouldn't quite say that this is proof that he stole the money specifically to fund his gaming habits, since there is a shitload more that he could have done with the rest of the money.

That being said, maybe he did. And that thought makes me giggle. ;D

SF 49ers AND Sacramento Kings season ticket?? Haha what a loser. :')


I hope he's at least winning the game...

Pyrian:
A million dollars and he didn't even get to bed Kate Upton.

According to math, this is what you need to bed Kate Upton.
http://m.mlb.com/news/article/43489374/tigers-pitcher-justin-verlander-agrees-to-five-year-contract-extension/

But...Charlie eats CAT food...

Imperioratorex Caprae:

RaikuFA:
Looks like Florida Man has some competition.

For all the faults of Florida, I'm so glad we're not California. State is terrible in terms of money management and overall debt... I mean FL can be shit at times in some regards (we're usually 10 years behind in social trends, mass-transit options, and getting rid of outdated laws that only hurt the overall population) but we're a decent state to live in. Cost of living isn't super-high compared to average salary, except in certain areas where housing is sparse or exuberantly overpriced.
But unfortunately we get railroaded in the media because of random stupid acts of a very small and highly insignificant portion of the population.
I say this only because I've lived in California and Florida and worked the same job in both states. In CA I barely made enough to put food on the table and pay rent/utilities. In FL I could afford all that plus car insurance and save money.
I don't understand how people tolerate the way California is run...

I live in NJ, our governor is currently being investigated for blocking a bridge that goes in and out of this one town all because the mayor of said town opposes our governor at every turn. Because a judge said they would investigate him and people cheered the judges decision, the fat bastard decided to sign in a gas bill where you have to pay an extra 25c to the gallon to spite everyone. It's also as expensive to live here as in CA (I lived there too). All three are the Trifeca of stupidity in the US.

So he's an asshole, an idiot, AND he has crappy taste in games.

GarouxBloodline:

They're not really successful when it comes to the aspect of bringing in a loyal following. They're successful, because they cater to the minority population, that have really serious addiction issues. Had a friend's friend who sank almost all of her savings into Cafe World, for instance, when those stupid little Facebook games became a reality.

I knew a lot of people that played Cafe World, but I only knew a few that were actually willing to spend real money on them. And those are the people that are catered to.

I see, i can't help but view that as highly immoral considering the restrictions that exist on gambling yet this gets a free pass?

And that it happens to ruin the mobile gaming scene as a side effect, and be a poisonous influence on the industry, riles me even further.

Frankster:
But...Game of War and its more modern day sequel Mobile strike are soooo shit :S

I don't understand, what is it about these games that make them successful?
I can actually understand in the case of candy crush because if i personally dislike puzzle games, i recognize that if you like match 3 then it provides pretty meaty substance in that area. Takes away the psychological stuff and you still have a decent game if match 3 is your thing. I can at least respect that.

But when it comes to Game of War/Mobile Strike, je ne comprends pas.
Maybe arnie and kate upton pestering you with tutorial popup messages is the epitome of fun nowadays.

First few times I saw a Mobile Strike ad, I thought someone was using Arnold's likeness without permission. Then I saw him in a commercial for it and now some of my childhood memories are ruined. But only a few.

As for why people are into this sort of thing? The companies put a lot of research into how to build an addictive "game" as opposed to a good game. Though really, that probably isn't all that hard given the number of people who sit at slot machines from dawn till dusk (a friend of mine works at a casino - the slot addicts won't stop even when someone has a heart attack and dies nearby [not an exaggeration, actually happened]).

yay I get banned

 

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