The moral of the story: Don't profit on a bug for two weeks before reporting it.
The market in EVE Online is basically simulated piracy. Manipulating the system for fun and profit is pretty much the whole point of the game, so it can hard to determine when players cross the line into exploiting the game's code. Recently, five players reported such an exploit to developer CCP, but only after they had been using it to gain massive amounts of "Loyalty Points" in the game. Today, CCP finally made the decision that even though the players reported the bug, the rewards they reaped were ill-gotten and have been removed from their accounts, but they were not banned from the game.
"The people who sought to benefit from this exploit will receive no gain from this system," read a post on EVE Online's official website. "Because the players made efforts to inform us about the issue their accounts will remain in good standing."
CCP accidentally introduced the exploit in the last update to EVE Online. Loyalty Points (LP) reward players for PvP, and the code calculates the number of LP based on the average value of the property destroyed. The exploit came from these players buying tons of ships that rarely are used and conspiring to blow each other's stuff up, thereby driving up the price and netting them a very large amount of LP. Incidentally, LP can be converted into ISK, the currency of EVE, which in turn can be converted into real world game time, meaning the exploit made them the equivalent of $175,000 US.
"Once we're done determining how much each person has benefitted we will remove the LP gained value in LP and items and return the ISK invested in the purchase of items to them," continued the official report. "This essentially will set each of them back to the original point at which they began this activity."
Even though this punishment is a mere slap on the wrist, I think it was a good decision on CCP's part to erase the gains made from the exploit, but not ban these players indefinitely. In a cutthroat game world like EVE Online, you can't blame these guys too much for trying.
Source: EVE Online blog