Seattle Software Engineers Theft Charges: Prosecutors say a Tacoma man stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Seattle-based e-commerce company Zulily using a plan based on the 1999 cult classic film, “Office Space.” The guy was sacked from his software engineering position at Zulily.
Court documents reveal that 28-year-old Ermenildo “Ernie” Castro was arrested and charged with two charges of theft and identity theft last week. He is suspected of stealing over $40,000 in products and over $260,000 in electronic payments by altering computer code to siphon shipping expenses and manipulating Zulily prices, according to charge papers.
According to the charges, the corporation lost more than $300,000 in the alleged fraud. Accusations state that Zulily employed Castro as a software developer on the “Shopping Experience” team toward the end of 2018.
Seattle police claimed in charge documents that Castro “inserted three forms of harmful code in the checkout process” beginning in February 2022. Following Castro’s dismissal on June 9, Zulily allegedly discovered a document on his work laptop named “Office Space project” detailing his plan to change the programming to steal shipping money charged to customers.
According to the criminal complaint, he admitted to police “that he titled his scheme to steal from Zulily after the movie.” Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), the film’s protagonist, and two fellow software engineers take revenge on corporate downsizing and their abuse at the hands of their superiors by planting a computer virus in the company’s financial system.
The virus’s original intent was to siphon off pennies from many transactions and deposit them into Gibbons’ account, but it stole $300,000 all at once. The parody of office life has become a cult favorite thanks partly to a red stapler, a beating of a broken printer, and a fire that may have been intentionally set.
According to the complaint against Castro, Zulily employees found billing errors and credit card charges that did not add up in March. Following discovering the anomalies, Castro is accused of making changes to the code to prevent the shipping fee theft from continuing.
Some consumers may have been charged twice for shipping and handling because he allegedly altered Zulily’s code again in April. According to the charges, half of the costs were paid to Zulily, and the other half were diverted into Castro’s account with the credit card payment processing company utilized by Zulily.
A total of over 30,000 Zulily purchases were allegedly compromised between February and June of this year. According to the accusations, Castro informed investigators he had invested the stolen funds in stock options and that “the money is now gone.”
According to the accusations, Castro bought 1,294 things from Zulily for just over $250, spending pennies on the dollar for goods initially valued at $41,000. The majority of the packages were delivered to Castro’s Tacoma residence. Still, the allegations also state that some were mailed to a lady in La Conner, Skagit County, whom Castro had dated briefly.
According to the accusations, Zulily’s corporate security team members went to Castro’s residence. They photographed several boxes bearing Zulily labels “piled outside the home’s front door and driveway” and then gave the images to Seattle police.
Police in Seattle allegedly uncovered “an absurd quantity” of the 1,000 things Castro had mailed to himself during a June check of his home. Some products were still in their original packaging with shipping labels attached. According to the accusations, Castro purchased a couch bed from Zulily for $1 despite its retail value of $565.99.
According to court documents, Castro’s arraignment is scheduled on January 26. However, the court file does not reveal who is handling his defense. Please tell your friends about this if you think it’s interesting. Go to Lighthousejournal.org for the latest updates and news about celebrities.
For almost 4 years, Jason Martin has been a freelance writer for newspapers, journals, blogs, books, and online material. He covers the most recent news as well as many other topics.