Game of War: Fire Age is one of the most popular mobile games on the market, partly thanks to an extensive marketing campaign featuring world famous model Kate Upton. Former Utah librarian Adam Winger is apparently one of Game of War‘s biggest fans, as he went through the trouble of embezzling over $89,000 in public funds to spend on the game’s microtransactions.
According to reports, Winger used a city credit card to buy hundreds of gift cards through two different Amazon accounts that were then spent on Game of War‘s microtransactions. Despite attempts to falsify invoices to hide his embezzlement, Winger was found out and plead guilty to theft and forgery (second- and third-degree felonies, respectively) back in June. To avoid prison time, Winger pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 100 hours of community service.
Winger’s plea deal also required him to pay $78,000 of the money he embezzled back before his sentencing took place. To raise the necessary funds and satisfy the requirements of his plea deal, Winger had to sell his house and tap into his retirement fund.
While some may shake their head at Winger’s choice to embezzle over $89,000 to purchase microtransactions in Game of War, others may be more sympathetic. This is just speculation, but it seems as though committing multiple felonies just to speed up timers in a mobile game could be indicative of a mental health issue, such as video game addiction.
Video game addiction, which has just recently been officially recognized as a serious mental health disorder, is when someone’s video game playing has an adverse effect on other aspects of their lives. As we see with people who are addicted to other things like drugs, they will often go to great lengths to satisfy their addiction, and the same can apply to someone who is addicted to video games.
Of course, it’s important to note Winger has not been diagnosed with gaming disorder to our knowledge, and it’s possible he just thought he could get away with embezzling such a significant amount of public funds. Regardless, Winger has managed to avoid prison time for his crimes, and has at least paid back the bulk of the money he embezzled.
Game of War is out now for iOS and Android mobile devices.