Man inspired by ‘Office Space’ film steals $330K from US e-comm site

Ermenildo Valdez Castro, a former engineer at popular US-based e-commerce website Zulily, has been charged with stealing over INR 2.4 crore (approximately USD 330,000) from the company. According to authorities, Castro was inspired by the 1999 film “Office Space” when he decided to manipulate product prices and alter the company’s code to divert shipping fees from Zulily to a personal account.

The alleged crimes were discovered in late 2020, when Zulily’s finance team noticed unusual activity in the company’s accounts. Upon further investigation, it was determined that Castro had been stealing electronic payments from the company for over a year, amounting to a total of INR 2.14 crore.

Castro, who had been working at Zulily since 2017, was immediately terminated and subsequently arrested on charges of wire fraud and computer fraud. He is currently being held in federal custody and is scheduled to appear in court later this month.

In a statement, Zulily CEO Mark Vadon said, “We are deeply disappointed by the actions of this former employee, who violated our trust and the law. We have taken steps to strengthen our internal controls and are cooperating fully with the authorities to ensure that justice is served.”

The news of Castro’s arrest has sent shockwaves through the e-commerce industry, as companies strive to maintain the trust of their customers and ensure the security of their financial information. Zulily, which is known for its trendy and affordable fashion options for women, children, and home decor, has assured customers that their personal and financial information was not compromised in the incident.

The case has also raised questions about the potential risks of employees with malicious intent, and the importance of implementing robust security measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring. Many companies are now reviewing their internal processes and protocols to identify any weaknesses that could be exploited by dishonest employees.

While the full extent of the damage caused by Castro’s actions is still being determined, it is clear that the incident has had a significant impact on Zulily and its reputation. The company will no doubt be working hard to restore trust in the wake of this disturbing revelation.