If, hypothetically, you came into an obscene amount of money and wanted to spend a bucketload of it on some gaming-related entertainment, what would you purchase? Multiple PC setups with hardware costing tens of thousands of dollars? Your own personal arcade? Or how about $1 million worth of in-app purchases? It seems that Sacramento, California resident Kevin Lee Co is such a big fan of mobile strategy title Game of War, that’s exactly what he did.
According to the BBC, Co pleaded guilty to embezzling $4.8 million from his employer, Holt (a caterpillar machinery distributor), across a seven-year period starting in 2008. In addition to spending the ill-gotten gains on season tickets for the San Francisco 49ers and Sacramento Kings, luxury cars, plastic surgery, and home furniture, Co blew a million dollars on the title famed for its Kate Upton ads.
During his time filtering away company funds, Co was promoted to head of the firm’s accounting department, using its credit cards to fund his lavish lifestyle and apparent love of freemium apps. He even bought a golf course membership, according to his plea agreement obtained by Ars Technica. The crimes were only discovered following an investigation by the FBI and IRS.
Game of War players spend on average around $550 a year on the game – more than double the next highest grossing mobile title, according to Slice Intelligence.
Co is due to be sentenced in May by United States District Judge Troy L. Nunley. The two crimes he’s pleaded guilty to – wire fraud and money laundering – both carry maximum sentences of 20 years, but the US government’s attorney has asked for a more lenient punishment as part of the plea deal.