Inspired by film, engineer steals $300K from e-commerce site

A former software engineer of the US-based e-commerce website Zulily, has been charged with stealing over $3,00,000 from the site after allegedly being inspired by the 1999 film ‘Office Space’.

A police report alleges that Ermenildo Valdez Castro (28) manipulated Zulily’s prices and altered its code to divert shipping fees to his personal account, stealing about $2,60,000 in electronic payments and more than $40,000 in merchandise, reports The New York Times.

He was charged on December 20 with two counts of theft and one count of identity theft and is scheduled to be summoned on January 26 in court.

The police report further mentioned that a document discovered on Castro’s work laptop referred to the scheme as the ‘OfficeSpace project’.

He later told police that he named his scheme to steal from Zulily after the film, according to the report.

The 1999 film depicts office workers stealing small sums of money by infecting their company’s banking system with a virus to retaliate against corporate downsizing and terrible bosses, the report added.

Castro worked on Zulily’s shopping experience team in 2018 and “had direct involvement in the coding of the customer checkout process.”

Moreover, the police report said that he had edited the code, but he said that Zulily knew about it and that “it was part of a testing process,” said the report.

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