Hacker faces jail over poker chip theft

Gambling chips, Corbis The sheer number of chips being stolen tipped off game firm Zynga.

Related Stories

A hacker has pleaded guilty to stealing more than 400 billion virtual poker chips.

In court Ashley Mitchell admitted penetrating the systems of online gaming firm Zynga to steal the chips.

He laundered the haul via a series of Facebook accounts in a bid to escape being caught.

The billions of poker chips had a face value of $12m (£7.4m) but Mr Mitchell realised only £53,000 from sales before he was apprehended.

Between June and September 2009, Mr Mitchell is reported to have posed as an administrator for the Zynga Poker game on Facebook in order to get at the computer systems for the game and steal the chips.

Mr Mitchell sold about one-third of the 400 billion chips, charging £430 per billion.

He is said to have resorted to hacking after becoming obsessed with online gambling and the Zynga Poker game in particular.

The sheer amount of chips going missing tipped Zynga off that someone was stealing from it and a sting was set up to track and catch the thief.

At Exeter Crown Court, Mr Mitchell pleaded guilty to five charges brought under the Computer Misuse Act and the Proceeds from Crime Act. He was remanded until a date was fixed for sentencing.

Judge Philip Wassall said Mr Mitchell would face a lengthy prison sentence for the theft. The crime was carried out while Mr Mitchell was under a suspended sentence for an earlier hack attack on computers at a local council.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Technology stories



  • Elderly manSuicide decline

    The number of old people killing themselves has fallen. Why?

  • Petrol pumpPumping up

    Why are petrol prices rising again?

  • Image of George from Tube CrushTube crush

    How London's male commuters set Chinese hearts racing

  • TricycleTreasure trove

    The lost property shop stuffed with diamonds, bikes... and a leg

  • Boris Nemtsov'I loved Nemtsov'

    A murder in an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.