MMO swindler uses space capitalism to steal $22,300 in record-breaking heist

One of EVE Online's space corporations
(Image credit: CCP)

An EVE Online player has managed to steal an estimated $22,000 worth of assets from one of the space MMO's myriad corporations, all because of an arcane rule and somewhat negligent management.

Reddit user Flam_Hill lays out the entirety of their plan on EVE Online's dedicated subreddit, explaining that they created a new "clean account with a character with a little history" to apply to a 299-member corporation with minimally active leadership that they had shares in, all with an unnamed accomplice in tow. Event Horizon Expeditionaries' seldom-seen top brass proved to be a blessing and a curse as it took a while for the application to be accepted, though it ultimately allowed for the heist to be carried out.

Once Hill's infiltrating account was accepted, they transferred enough shares from their main account to take advantage of an old rule to trigger a vote for a new CEO. As the corporation was barely active, the conspirators were the only people to vote.

A mere 72 hours later, Flan_Hill's bogus account was made the CEO, which gave them the power to make their original account a director. With the cunning manoeuvre carried out, Flan_Hill then cleared out the coffers to net 130 billion ISK. Throw in all the corporation's assets, which include large ships and the like, and Flan_Hill reckons you're looking at 2.23 trillion ISK in total value.

The EVE Online fan further speculates that amounts to $22,300 in actual money, though it's worth noting that EVE Online's official currency can't be cashed out into the real world. That said, you can use it to buy another in-game currency called Plex that can be used to upgrade accounts or purchase other virtual goodies.

The deception is legitimate, too, as developer CCP confirmed to PC Gamer, though it wouldn't go as far as sharing the value of what was taken. If the sum is legitimate, though, it would be the biggest heist the space MMO has ever seen, with the last being a year-long inside job worth an estimated 1.5 trillion ISK.

"The well-being and security of a Corporation or Alliance lie in the management of its leadership, the activity of those members is paramount," Flan_Hill says. "This heist was made possible by really only two things, I had come into the shares by pure chance and EHEXP leadership barely registered a heartbeat."

One of EVE Online's space battles

(Image credit: CCP)

As CCP explains on the forums, running for CEO requires being a corporation member and having more than 5% of its share in your wallet. How Flan_Hill came to own those shares, though, has been subject to debate online. One of the more straightforward theories is that the shares were incorrectly handed when the corporation was spun up, whereas a more fantastical pitch is that Flan_Hill is the long-departed founder who has been sitting on those shares for years. Someone else reckons the EVE Online player could have easily lucked into them by purchasing an account that had them kicking around.

While CCP's CEO rules are as old as the hills themselves, this heist is unlikely to change them. Sure, you can easily use them to trick someone else, though getting the shares needed to do so seems to require a good deal of luck. If you do run a corporation in EVE Online, though, you may fancy checking in here and there.

Elsewhere, 178,000 Old School Runescape players just voted for their MMO's first new skill in 17 years, and the race was unbelievably close.

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.