How much is a Runescape account worth?
Up to fifteen years of jail time, apparently, for 19-year-old Humza Bajwa of Massachusetts. Bajwa is being charged of second-degree robbery and grand larceny after pulling a BB gun at a Runescape coin for real money exchange.
Bajwa cut a deal with another Runescape player Jonathan Dokler to exchange 4.7 billion Runescape coins for $3,300. Dokler asked his friend David Emani to conduct the deal in person. Emani wanted to back out due to suspicions that Bajwa was carrying fake currency. "He was transferring money from one envelope to another envelope, and I got a glimpse of it and it looked fake," said Emani. "I was on the phone with John, and I said, 'Don't do it. It looks fake.'"
Despite Emani's reluctance, Dokler decided to go through with the deal. When Emani met with Bajwa again the next day, his suspicions were confirmed: Bajwa was carrying counterfeits hidden under a real $100 bill. When Emani protested, Bajwa pulled a BB gun and pointed it at Emani's head. Emani, not knowing that the gun wasn't real, completed the transaction.
Fortunately, Bajwa was caught on CCTV and was arrested. If Bajwa is charged of grand larceny and second-degree robbery, he faces up to 15 years of jail time… just over virtual currency.
Runescape developer Jagex prohibits the exchange of the game's virtual currency for real money. Unfortunately, there's just no feasible way for the developer to enforce the policy, though this story is sure to make a few Runescape players at least think twice before selling off in-game coins.