Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently raided a college apartment regarding an investigation of potential white collar crime two university students were involved in. According to documents related to the search FBI agents raided the room to investigate whether two students were involved in fraudulent sales and purchases of virtual currency used in the popular online computer game World of Warcraft. No arrests were made according to a bureau spokesperson.
The raid occurred at the University Towers near the University of Michigan. A sophomore and a junior that attend the University share the apartment that was raided. The sophomore says that he and his roommate do not play World of Warcraft and believe the FBI has investigated the wrong people.
FBI agents stormed the room to investigate whether one of the university students participated in a plan to create fraudulent bank accounts to buy and sell virtual currency or “gold” used in World of Warcraft. Serious gamers who play World of Warcraft pay real money for the virtual currency to get further in the online role-playing game. In World of Warcraft, players complete various tasks such as defeating monsters and receive virtual currency at the end of the task. The virtual currency or gold is used to buy improved equipment for the gamers’ online character.
Some World of Warcraft players are “gold farmers” who play the game to build up reserves of virtual currency and later sell the virtual currency to other players over the Internet for real cash. When FBI agents raided the college apartment they were seeking evidence of any records involving online transactions concerning World of Warcraft and online transaction services. During the raid, investigators seized laptop computers, hard drives, credit cards, cell phones and paperwork. Says the sophomore, “I’m pretty sure they have the wrong people, but they took all my stuff.”
Source: annarbor.com, “FBI agents search University of Michigan students’ apartment during investigation involving World of Warcraft scheme,” Lee Higgins, 4/7/11