Software programmer arrested for using the old "Superman III/Office Space" trick

I thought the shaving off of the tenths of a cent or whatever Richard Pryor's character in Superman III did is a lot more clever than any of the follow-ons, but a 28-year-old software programmer from Tacoma, Washington certainly gave it a whirl. The thing most surprising is that the criminal kept his crime organized on his laptop in an easy-to-find folder. White collar criminals keep making this mistake.


Ermenildo Castro, 28, of Tacoma, allegedly told detectives that he was inspired by the 90's movie "Office Space" when he devised a plan to divert customer fees from his employer,, into his own bank accounts.

According to court documents, Castro wrote software code that manipulated the online retailer's checkout page to send the shipping fees into his own account. The charges allege Castro netted $260,000 in stolen shipping fees.

Seattle police detectives said Castro also used his position as a software engineer to manipulate prices on Zulily to purchase approximately $41,000 in merchandise for 'pennies on the dollar'.

According to police, the company's cybersecurity staff found a document on Castro's laptop titled 'OfficeSpace project', which outlined Castro's scheme to 'cleanup evidence' by manipulating audit logs and disabling alarm logging. The theft began in February and by March the company had identified discrepancies in the shipping fees being charged to customers, an SPD report states.