CLEARWATER — Police say a video gamer's online transgressions caught up to him in real life. Officers arrested him Monday in what they said was a ruse to swindle other gamers out of their money.
Christopher H. Bouffard, 23, was charged with scheming to defraud and two counts of grand theft. He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail Tuesday.
According to Clearwater police, Bouffard offered to sell online World of Warcraft characters but cut off all contact once he received payment. Bouffard accepted at least $760 from two people in 2008, and there are at least two more victims, according to arrest reports.
World of Warcraft, a multiplayer online role-playing game, has more than 11 million monthly subscribers.
In the game, players create characters such as elves, trolls or dwarves that take part in adventures in a land called Azeroth.
Arrest reports do not explain why the players Bouffard is accused of defrauding paid hundreds of dollars for characters when they could create their own for free after paying a minimal monthly subscription fee.
But more advanced characters allow users to skip ahead and play at a higher level.