|May 30th, 2007|
This virtual world of role-playing games presents a number of challenges to US law enforcement. First and foremost, no specific laws apply to it. Second, by virtue of its anonymous and virtual nature, it is nearly impossible to track real money deposited into and cashed out of the game. Third, the challenge of identification is compounded by the fact that neither players nor recipients are subject to any rigorous due diligence beyond the disclosure of an e-mail address, and even that can be spoofed. Fourth, there are no limits on the amount of money – real or virtual – that may be used in the game. Furthermore, since there are no clear jurisdictions, violations of laws are hard to prosecute.Moving funds from one criminal/terrorist to another can work like this: A criminal/terrorist using fake IDs opens a virtual account in an online game. He then deposits real money via an ATM into his virtual account. With his virtual currency he buys virtual real estate from his co-conspirator and transfers virtual payment for the property to the seller’s virtual account. The seller then converts the virtual currency into real money and withdraws it from an ATM.