A couple of Diablo III miscreants felt the long arm of the law in 2014, according to a Fusion article that calls the proceeding a “first-of-its-kind legal case that has not been previously reported.”
In a nutshell, California resident Patrick Nepomuceno and Maryland resident Michael Stinger stole in-game weapons and armor from a couple dozen Diablo III players, then planned to sell the goods on the game’s auction house.
The two men pled guilty to misdemeanor “unauthorized impairment of a protected computer” and were sentenced to several years’ probation and ordered to pay $5,654.61 to Blizzard to cover its investigation costs. “We made $0,” Stinger said. “We had plenty of high value items that we were going to sell, yes. Perhaps the items were valued at nine grand. But nothing was sold and no currency exchanged hands. I got banned before I could sell anything.” Blizzard created new virtual items identical to the stolen ones and gifted them to affected Diablo III players, effectively creating a victim-less crime.