You would have thought it would be hard to topple the $45,000 scam which occurred in the realm of EVE Online in late 2010, which lost in-game investors over 850 Billion ISK - an amount that one of writers here at Game Rant estimated would take him over 70 lifetimes to earn. Today however, a scheme came to completion which netted the benefactors a cool 1, 000,000,000,000 ISK from investors.
Eddie Lampert and Mordor Exuel, two now-infamous EVE Online players, had started up a firm which promised an unheard-of 5% weekly returns on invested ISK. The firm, Phaser Incorperated, was thought to have a board of directors and traders and even undisclosed corporations under its belt, which was all a lie to build confidence that Phaser Incorporated was a stable and well-governed company, netting profits from invested ISK.
Though such a drastic percentage of promised profits should immediately raise a red flag no matter what currency you're dealing in, over 8,000 gamers were lured in to the appeal of such good returns and invested their ISK in the company. Even vocal skeptics of the firm eventually invested based upon word-of-mouth from reputable players.
Of course, there were no profits for the invested companies, because the money was never invested by Phaser Incorporated in the first place. What was happening is known as a Ponzi Scheme, and certainly the most effective one in the realm of EVE Online. The company took investment money for themselves, and made payoffs using that same money. It depends on an increasing flow of investor money to continue making payoffs, and more and more people joined in, they chose the right moment to pull out before making any more payoffs, netting themselves a large profit in the process.
Eventually, the two players behind the company had achieved their goal - after their seemingly legit returns and advertisement fees, if they shut down right now they would pull out with over a trillion ISK from investors to split between themselves. And they did just that.
This cryptic message was left on the company website.
The duo revealed that the total ISK invested in their fraudulent company was a stunning 1.831 Trillion ISK. After all of the last payouts and, they closed down the company with no warning and left with 1.033 Trillion ISK of investor money. That's the real-life equivalent of about $51,677.50 - or, in terms of purchasing timecodes for the game, you'd get 2,953 30 day time codes - enough to play the game for over 240 years.
Of course, this type of scam is completely legal in the EVE Online universe, where players are warned that ISK investments are a dangerous business. The duo left a stunningly crafted letter on the retired Phaser Incorporated website, stating a farewell to those who had invested and listing the three reasons why they did it - because they could, because it was allowed, and for the ISK. Feel free to peruse the words that bankrupted several thousand people in the Eve Online Universe here.
What do you think about the scam? Are you an EVE Online player who was affected by such investments?
Source: Phaser Incorporated