Technology

Man spends stolen $1m on Game of War

Game of War Image copyright Game of War

A man went on a $1m (£800,000) spending spree on the Game of War app after stealing $4.8m from his employer.

Kevin Lee Co, 45, from Sacramento, California, pleaded guilty to fraudulently using company credit cards to steal the money.

Court documents reveal Mr Co spent about $1m of the embezzled funds on Game of War, one of the world's highest grossing mobile games.

Players buy gold and other in-game credits to help build their empires.

Mr Co worked at Holt, a California-based dealer of Caterpillar machinery, for about two years before he started the fraudulent scheme by May 2008.

He became responsible for managing Holt's accounting department a year later and continued to hide the transactions until March 2015.

He left the company a month later.

Over the course of nearly seven years, he used the company card to buy luxury cars, as well as season tickets to NFL team the San Francisco 49ers, and basketball team the Sacramento Kings.

Other items included plastic surgery, home furniture and golf course membership, according to a copy of his plea agreement obtained by tech news site Ars Technica.

Image copyright Game of War
Image caption The fantasy game is well-known for its adverts involving American model Kate Upton

It is estimated players spent $550 on average last year on Game of War, which has featured singer Mariah Carey and model Kate Upton in its adverts.

That was double the next highest grossing mobile game, and largely came from buying $52 crates of gold, according to data analysts Slice Intelligence.

Mr Co, who pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and money laundering, will be sentenced in May.

The two charges each carry jail terms of up to 20 years, but the US government's attorney has recommended a lesser punishment as part of the plea deal.

The case follows an investigation by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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