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Software engineer allegedly stole $300K from an e-commerce site by copying Office Space


A cartoon illustration shows a shadowy figure carrying off a red directory folder, which has a surprised-looking face on its side.
A file was discovered on the software engineer’s work computer titled “OfficeSpace Project,” with the accused admitting to naming the scheme after the 1999 comedy. | Illustration by Beatrice Sala

A former Zulily employee has been charged with stealing over $300,000 from the e-commerce site after allegedly being inspired by the 1999 film Office Space. As reported by The New York Times, according to this police report (pdf), Ermenildo Valdez Castro, 28, is accused of manipulating product prices and altering the company’s code to divert shipping fees from Zulily to a personal account.

According to court documents, Castro began editing Zulily’s software code for checkout payments in February 2022, which allowed him to steal around $260,000 in electrical payments by diverting shipping fees from Zulily customer purchases to a Stripe account that he controlled, in some cases double-charging customers for shipping.

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