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This article was published on August 17, 2018


Librarian blew $89k in city money on free mobile game

Librarian blew $89k in city money on free mobile game
Rachel Kaser
Story by

Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

I’m consistently amazed by the lengths people will go to for their free-to-play mobile games. In this case, a librarian in Utah managed to blow thousands of dollars on Game of War.

According to the Herald Journal, the former librarian, Adam Winger, used city credit cards to fund his digital addiction. He was put on administrative leave sometime last year after he was apparently unable to account for $89,000 of missing funds, and resigned from his position three months later. The credit cards were used to purchase Itunes, Amazon, and Play Store gift cards, which were themselves used to purchase the virtual coins that can be used to buy things in-game.

If you haven’t seen the commercials with a dazzlingly dressed Kate Upton — and what a fabulous shout-out to the old Evony ads she is — Game of War is a free-to-play mobile strategy game in which you gather resources to build cities, Age of Empires-style.

It’s free, but like all mobile games its slow progression can be expedited with strategic applications of money — and the game isn’t shy about reminding you of that. That’s the same reason why money laundering is such a big deal in mobile games: People are willing to pay through the nose to avoid that waiting, so they’ll purchase a boosted account. Still, I’ve never heard of one costing $89,000.

Winger has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and will pay back $78,000. The judge told him, “I am sure there were a lot of times along the way when you knew you needed to stop,” which I would say was around the time he altered invoices to cover his tracks.

A more interesting part of his punishment, according to the Journal, is that he has to read and write a report on the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller’s book about finding meaning and motivation in a banal reality. I would argue he found one — the problem is he found it at the expense of North Logan, Utah.

Still, it could be worse — we know of at least one guy who spent $1 million in stolen money on Game of War.