‘Office Space’ inspired WA software engineer’s theft scheme, prosecutors say

A Tacoma gentleman was fired from his program engineering position at Zulily following stealing hundreds of hundreds of dollars from the Seattle-dependent e-commerce company using a scheme inspired by the 1999 cult classic film, “Office Room,” in accordance to prosecutors.

Ermenildo “Ernie” Castro, 28, was billed very last 7 days with two counts of to start with-degree theft and initial-diploma identification theft, courtroom information present. He’s accused of modifying programming code to siphon delivery charges and manipulate Zulily prices, stealing about $260,000 in electronic payments and far more than $40,000 in items, according to charging papers.

The company’s loss in the alleged plan exceeded $300,000, charging papers say.

Hired by Zulily in late 2018, Castro labored as a software package engineer for the on line retailer’s “Shopping Experience” crew, the prices say. Starting up in February 2022, Castro “inserted 3 forms of destructive code in the checkout process” to steal from the organization and its prospects, a Seattle police detective wrote in charging papers.

Right after Castro was fired June 9, a Zulily examination of his perform laptop computer uncovered a document titled “Office Area job,” outlining his plan to rewrite code to steal delivery costs billed to shoppers, according to the rates. Police say he later on verified “that he named his scheme to steal from Zulily right after the movie,” according to charging papers.

In “Office Area,” lead character Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) and two computer software engineers retaliate against company downsizing and their bosses’ mistreatment by introducing a computer virus into their company’s banking method. While the virus is meant to divert fractions of pennies from a substantial selection of transactions into Gibbons’ financial institution account, a little something goes improper and the virus steals $300,000 immediately, guaranteeing the theft will be found out. A crimson stapler, a beatdown on a malfunctioning printer, and a suspected arson that burned the firm to the floor served switch the satire on office misery into a cult classic.

In the scenario against Castro, charging papers say Zulily workers found out discrepancies in March in between what some buyers were billed and the amounts charged to their credit rating cards. The charges allege Castro, in response, modified code to protect against the discrepancies, which he experienced initially designed to steal shipping fees from the small business, from continuing. Then, in April, he once again modified Zulily coding, resulting in some consumers to be double charged for shipping and delivery and handling, according to the prices.

50 % of all those expenses went to Zulily and 50 percent ended up siphoned into Castro’s non-public account with the credit score card payment processing enterprise made use of by Zulily, then transferred into his lender accounts, charging papers say.

The scheme affected additional than 30,000 Zulily transactions involving February and June, according to the charges. Law enforcement say Castro explained to detectives he applied the stolen funds to devote in stock possibilities and that “the funds is now long gone,” according to the costs.

Castro is also accused of paying for 1,294 Zulily objects at closely discounted costs, frequently for pennies on the dollar, paying out a minimal above $250 for products value $41,000, the charges say. Most were being transported to Castro’s Tacoma handle, even though some items were despatched to a La Conner, Skagit County, woman Castro briefly dated, in accordance to the rates.

Users of Zulily’s corporate safety crew went to Castro’s tackle and photographed numerous containers with Zulily labels “piled outside of the home’s entrance door and driveway,” and turned the photographs in excess of to Seattle police, the fees say.

When Seattle law enforcement searched Castro’s home in June, the prices say officers discovered “an exorbitant number” of the 1,000 goods Castro had delivered to himself, some in their authentic packaging with shipping and delivery labels hooked up. For occasion, Zulily documents confirmed Castro compensated $1 for a sofa bed that had a retail price of $565.99, say the expenses.

Castro has been requested to seem for arraignment on Jan. 26, courtroom documents display. The data do not show which protection lawyer is symbolizing him.