December 30 (UPI) — A former Seattle software engineer has been charged with plotting to steal more than $300,000 from Zulily, an online shopping company inspired by the 1999 black comedy movie Office Space.
According to police records obtained by KIRO and CNN, Ermenildo Valdez Castro, 28, was inspired by the plot of the Mike Judge movie and planned to steal the shipping charges charged by his employer.
In this satirical look at the typical 1990s software office culture, Ron Livingston’s Peter Gibbons is subjected to personality-altering hypnosis that leads him to professional apathy. He conspires with his two fellow disgruntled workers to steal from employers in a series of microtransactions that divert a few pennies to another bank account.
Castro, who started working for Zulily in December 2018, allegedly began making changes to the online retailer’s software earlier this year, according to police records.
His code allegedly applied a small percentage to Zulily’s customer checkouts and transferred the shipping charges associated with those purchases to a bank account controlled by him.
When Zulily launched an internal investigation, Castro allegedly created new code to double-charge some customers for shipping and transfer the charges to Zulily and his separate accounts.
Castro, who had a plan on his work laptop in a OneNote document titled “OfficeSpace Project,” told police his plan was inspired by the movie.
He was arrested by police in June, but charges of first-degree theft and first-degree identity theft weren’t submitted to prosecutors until Dec. 20, CNN reported.
Castro was fired from his job in June after a member of the company’s corporate security team found a box containing stolen goods outside his home.