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Finnish Teenager and Parents Convicted in €130,000 Online Casino Scam
A Finnish teenager has been sentenced with his parents for stealing €130,000 ($152,000) from an unnamed online casino by exploiting a glitch in its systems.
The teenager was 16 when he discovered a rare online casino glitch that allowed him to plunder it for funds by making hundreds of requests for refunds. His parents were tried as accessories to the crime. (Image: Miki Wallenius / Yle)
The prosecution had called for a custodial sentence for the eighteen-year-old, but a court in Häme, Finland offered leniency because he was a minor at the time of the infraction. On Monday, he received a suspended sentence of one year and eight months after being convicted of aggravated fraud.
The boy’s father was convicted of aggravated money laundering and received a five-month suspended sentence, while his mother received a 60-day suspended sentence for money laundering.
Both parents were discovered to have funds that were proceeds of the crime in their bank accounts, while the mother was in possession of a €5,000 ($5,770) motorcycle that had been paid for with the stolen money.
The tech savvy teenager was 16 years old when he discovered the glitch, which permitted him to make multiple requests for refunds to the Malta-based casino. During the trial, the court heard the boy had exploited the flaw 417 times between April and May 2017, until a casino employee uncovered the fraud.
It was originally claimed he had transferred €252,000 ($290,000) into his bank accounts, a figure later revised to €132,000, which the teenager was ordered to repay along with €3,000 ($3,460) to cover the online gambling company’s legal fees.
The parents were prosecuted as accomplices to the crime, as around €17,000 ($20,000) was found in their accounts. Their son’s status as a minor prevented the court from identifying all three defendants by name.
Despite what spam marketing ads might have you believe, glitches in modern online casino software are rare, but when they occur they can be costly for the casino, in more ways than one.
In August 2017, 888 Holdings was fined a record $10 million by the UK Gambling Commission after a glitch in its software allowed 70,000 people who had voluntarily banned themselves from playing to access its internet bingo platforms.
Glitches can have serious repercussions for live operations too. Las Vegas sports book operator CG Technologies is currently facing possible license revocation after its system was found to have miscalculated customer payouts, accepted wagers after games were over, and taken out-of-state bets on its Nevada-only mobile platform.
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