Friday, August 19, 2016

Man Pleads Guilty to Second Life Land Fraud in Real Life Court


While the goings-on in virtual worlds are beyond the understanding of many in real life, the court system found a scam involving thousands of dollars done online clear enough to bring to real life court. In this case, a man plead guilty to swindling a woman in a Second Life real estate deal.

In April 2015, Joshua Bills was arrested and charged with fraud. The crime: a virtual real estate scam, "In the complaint, it stated that a loan agreement was made with Bills for $53,500 for the purposes of expanding his online real estate company. Bills was to use the money to purchase land that he would manage through his company, within the game Second Life, in exchange for a promissory note that would pay $10,000 for the investment within 24 months."

The woman whom was targeted had been renting a home in Second Life from Bills. Then, "He suggested she invest with him to buy more land within the game so he could manage it and make both of them money." But instead of investing the money as promised, the majority of it went to his E-Trade investment account.

Indiana Securities Commissioner Alex Glass commented in a statement, "This was certainly a unique case in that it dealt with online, virtual real estate. However, upon examination of the facts, this case is very similar to a conventional real estate investment scheme. Con artists are always finding new and unique ways to scam trusting individuals out of their hard earned money."

Bills plead guilty in Marion County Indiana court. He was sentenced in late July to three years probation, and ordered to repay the woman he defrauded in full.

Hamlet Au of New World Notes, which also wrote about the case, commented, "this conviction helps establish a legal precedent for future prosecution of other virtual scams."

Sources: Business Weekly, ind.gov 

Bixyl Shuftan

8 comments:

  1. see thats BS that dude should have went to prison not get probation thats is way more than GRAND LARCENY now if i did that or that woman did that we be in prison for 5 to 10 years without parole. This dude just gets away with a slap on the wrist and has to pay her back because he is a broker and has ties in stock markets obviously. I think this is alot more than fraud and the woman was cheated by this man and the court of law. Everyone knows many many games are doing this and making million if not billions from ripping people off. Its no diff then someone trying to charge 30.00 for a gallon of gas. STEALING IS STEALING

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  2. Damn straight it is. He should be doing time not a slap on the wrists!

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  3. Well, One thing is for sure, This is another step in the right direction for better regulation of virtual land in SL. Another was in 2014 when Linden Labs made it illegal to use land bots to go out and take land that is sold for absolute cheap prices. A good amount of my land in SL was stolen from me in this way back in 2013. A rogue member of my group decided to just give all of it away to these land bots. Been 3 years and still working to recover this "blood tier" in the region of Glinda in SL (on one of the mainland continents), which includes the former site of the New World Enlightenment Fun House, a site that was once in the editors picks in the Destination Guide early that year, and our pride and joy in SL. Just keep praying and hoping that it all gets recovered, even if I have to bring those that currently possess the "blood tier" into my own group. Peace.

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  4. See this is why I get so mad when somone calls SL a game cause it isn't. There are consequences for actions. There is real people with real feelings. A game is something u play to level up and if u mess up u can hit reset, on SL u cant. Feelings can get hurt. It affects people when u wrong them. I remember when i heard about the guy that did the squiffies was a con artist. Secondlife isnt a game it is a virtual chat world that u can be what u want to be like a vampire,a furrie or even be a child if u didnt have a great childhood and wanted to act like a child in the privacy of ur home. Things can happen but u have to face it and see ur mistakes and fix them. I love secondlife. I have many friends and family on there and i wouldnt trade that for all the rl money in the world

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  5. I've said it before, and now i will say it again. Second Life is not a game, unless you consider it a game of survival. Second Life is an environment, and one does not play an environment, one lives it. At the risk of saying to the victim, that's life, it in fact is. Buyer beware!

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  6. I've got some land I think you might be interested in.

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  7. I have to comment that anyone who would invest $53,500 in a dated and declining platform that is what? 13 years-old has to have a screw loose.

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    1. I could see someone doing this ten years ago. Maybe.

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