Man Steals $1 Million, Spends it on ‘Game of War’ Mobile Game

A man has admitted to stealing $4.8 million from his former employer, and spending $1 million of the stolen money on the Game of War mobile game.

Kevin Lee Co admitted to embezzling the money from the construction equipment company Holt of California, with the 45-year-old having also spent the cash on plastic surgery and season tickets to watch the San Francisco 49ers. However, it was the extortionate amount of money he had spent on Game of War that proved to be his most baffling use of the money, with him sinking six zeroes into in-game purchases.

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Game of War is one of the highest-grossing mobile games out there, with it allowing players to pay real money in order to overlook time restrictions placed on its multiplayer battles. It’s perhaps best known for its commercials starring model Kate Upton, though its success has also been a major contributing factor in the rise of “freemium” games, which see players able to download a game for free of charge but then encouraged to spend money on it in order to progress.

It seems that Game of War‘s microtransaction strategy got the better of Lee Co, who has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and laundering in the Sacramento federal court. He must now provide proof that he cannot afford to pay the fine that comes with his punishment, and will be sentenced at a later date.

Game of War has been widely criticised since its launch, with many bemoaning its money-making practises. With the game only offering timed rewards for cash, it has often been suggested that it therefore resembles gambling more than it does an actual game, with there having been multiple examples in the past of players spending thousands on it and landing themselves in major debt as a result.