The Magnificently Stupid IRL 'Office Space' Caper

The Magnificently Stupid IRL 'Office Space' Caper

Movie fans love acting out their favorite bits from awesome movies, whether it’s cosplaying it up as Drax at Comic-Con or rolling multi-sided dice to RP a sweet Ghostbusters adventure. And in the case of one Office Space superfan? You concoct a code-corrupting scheme to skim hundreds of thousands of dollars from your employer. That’s hardcore fandom!

Authorities are accusing software engineer Ermenildo “Ernie” Castro of acting out his Office Space fantasies, scamming his former employer Zulily out of $300,000 and change. The crux of the plan, straight out of the movies, involved rewriting code on the online retailer’s checkout page to divert a fraction of shipping fees to Castro himself. 

Where could such a scheme go wrong? Let us count the ways:

  1. You could allegedly use your company laptop to pull off the scheme. 
  2. You could allegedly create a file on that company laptop detailing how you intended to rip off your employer. 
  3. You could allegedly name that file “OfficeSpace Project.”
  4. When you get fired, you could allegedly return that laptop to your employer where it could find the file containing your sneaky plans. 
  5. You could allegedly use your coding skills to order company products for pennies, then leave them piled up in your driveway for curious coworkers to find.
  6. You could allegedly admit to the police that your “OfficeSpace Project” file was named for the money-skimming scheme from Office Space.

Of course, no Peter Gibbons roleplay would be complete without a lovely lady to woo. Castro also allegedly ordered a number of practically free Zulily products for delivery to a gal he met on Tinder. With $40,000 worth of swag delivered to Castro and his online love interest, it’s the ultimate expression of flair.

What an alleged dumbass. But of course, it gets dumber. Castro claims to no longer have the money he swiped, losing it all by investing it in GameStop stock options. What’s left? Not much, not even a stapler (although they’re available to order on Zulily). Practically all Castro has to show for his clever scheming is two counts of theft and one count of identity theft. We’re going to need him to be arraigned in Seattle’s King County Superior Court later this month, mmmkay? That would be great. 

But the fun might not be quite over for this movie fan. He still has a chance to play out this classic Office Space scene.

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