Software engineer arrested for stealing from online retailer with a scheme lifted from the movie ‘Office Space’

News & Politics

A software engineer was charged with identify theft after he allegedly stole from an online retailer using a scheme that was inspired by the cult movie classic “Office Space.”

28-year-old Ermenildo “Ernie” Castro was arrested in December and charged with two counts of first-degree theft and first-degree identity theft according to court records obtained by the Seattle Times.

Prosecutors allege that Castro used his position as a software engineer at Zulily, an online retailer based in Seattle, Washington, to edit computer script in order to steal more than $300,000. Charging papers say he stole about $260,000 in electronic payments and also stole merchandise amounting to about $40,000.

Castro was fired from the company in July and it discovered a file named “Office Space project” on his laptop which detailed the scheme.

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The movie from 1999 details a similar scheme by software engineers working at a company that they hate. They insert a virus that siphons small increments of money from transactions into a private account they control. When an error threatens to expose the scheme, an unrelated employee burns down the building and destroys the evidence, keeping the collaborators from what they imagine is federal prison time with hostile cellmates.

Charging documents said that Castro would manipulate the software so that he could buy Zulily products for pennies on the dollar. One example cited was a sofa bed retailing $565.99 that he was able to purchase for one dollar.

Police said Castro told them that all the money he stole was gone after he invested in risky stock options.

Zulily security officials also claimed that they found boxes of its products delivered to his house in Tacoma and “piled outside of the home’s front door and driveway.”

Here’s a scene from the movie:

[embedded content]Office Space (2/5) Movie CLIP – Bad Case of the Mondays (1999) HDwww.youtube.com

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