Software Engineer Arrested After ‘Office Space’ Inspired Scheme Uncovered

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Pulling off an Office Space inspired scheme isn’t as easy as it sounds. Implementing the code is the easy part for a software engineer. Having a Milton-type character burn down the company’s building and destroy the evidence is the difficult part.

28-year-old software engineer Ermenildo Castro found this out the hard way. He was arrested and stands accused of stealing more than $300,000 from his former employer, Zulily.com.

Software Engineer Arrested After 'Office Space' Inspired Scheme Uncovered
Scene from the movie Office Space (Image Credit: IMDB)

Court documents state that Castro implemented code that sent shipping fees into his own bank account. He reportedly was able to collect $260,000 in fees before getting caught. He also changed the prices on some of the Zulily’s items, totaling $41,000 in merchandise, in order to purchase them for a fraction of their actual price.

Police say the company’s cybersecurity team recovered a document on Castro’s laptop detailing his plans. The document was named OfficeSpace project. It included his intention to manipulate audit logs in order to cover his tracks.

If you haven’t seen Office Space, stop what you’re doing right now and go watch it. The 1999 cult classic follows three employees at a software company who hate their jobs. When they find out that two of them are about to be let go they come up with a plan to embezzle small amounts of money into one of their bank accounts.

A mistake is made and they end up taking $300,000. Thanks to their co-worker Milton, who spends the movie threatening to burn the building down, the evidence of their crime is destroyed.

You Need A Milton To Pull Off The Office Space Scheme

Castro didn’t have the same luck. A Seattle Police Department report says the theft, which began in February, was discovered in March after the company noticed shipping fee discrepancies. Castro was on the team charged with investigating the issue.

His scheme was eventually uncovered. Zulily investigators paid a visit to his home and discovered boxes of merchandise piled up by the front door and in the driveway. He had more than 1,000 sent to his house.

The lesson to be learned here is a simple one. If you’re going to attempt this kind of scheme make sure you have a Milton. Otherwise there’s going to be a trip to jail in your future.

Software Engineer Arrested After 'Office Space' Inspired Scheme Uncovered
Milton from Office Space (Image Credit: Giphy)

Written by Sean Joseph

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