An Australian World of Warcraft fan took the unusual step of converting her in-game gold into bars of real gold bullion. This was fine – until someone allegedly stole the $74,500 worth of precious metal from her home in 2008.
Understandably upset, the gamer – Kristina Fincham – took the matter up with her insurance company, and they simply refused to pay. In fact, the insurer counter-sued, accusing Ms. Fincham of staging the theft in order to make a claim.
A spokesperson from the insurance company explains:
“Ms Fincham was not covered for any loss caused by, or arising from, fraud or fraudulent means used by her or anyone acting on her behalf.”
…but wait. How does someone get $74,500 worth of in-game gold, anyway? Why would someone convert it into real gold, and not, say, cash? Where does fraud come into it?
Simple answers, all of them.
Ms. Fincham allegedly ran an in-game business mining virtual gold and then selling it to others for real cash. She was, from all accounts, ridiculously successful. Gold prices in 2008 were at a 10-year high, so it makes a sort of sense to convert your virtual treasure into something more tangible.
The fraud is because the insurer alleges that Ms. Fincham only converted the in-game gold into a real-world item because then it could be stolen. Which it was. It all seems a little too convenient.
The case is currently waiting to hear back from the forensic accountant (yes, that’s a real job title), but lawyers on both sides agree the case is unlikely to settle and would have to go to trial. Master Peter Norman has adjourned the case until May, when a trial date will be determined.
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