One of the most memorable schemes in the world of film theft should be an accounting scam in the “Office Space” directed by Mike Judge. Inspired by a similar scam from Superman III, pop culture inspiration has only made this fictional act of theft even more appealing.
This was confirmed by a recent crime in real life, when a programmer was arrested for a similar crime, imitating both of these films, and then some others. It looks like someone’s subscription to Hulu could get them into trouble.
According to a brief review published by the Seattle Times, 28-year-old Ermenildo “Ernie” Castro was not too young to draw inspiration from the 1999 cult classic comedy. Using several types of malware, Castro was able to redirect and sometimes double the shipping fees paid by customers of his former employer Zulily. Moreover, part of the $400,000 he was charged with theft came from adjusting the prices of his own goods, which allowed him to pay $250 for goods worth $41,000.
Perhaps the least brilliant move of all this extortion was that Ermenildo Castro called the documents on his work computer “the Office Space project.” While the film certainly inspired people all over the world, as seen in last year’s big Wal-Mart ad and the NCIS episode, none of these cases involved any criminal activity. At least, none that anyone could make a reasonable claim to.
Honestly, if he really wanted to be precise, he probably should have called it the “Superman III Project.” Here’s a Scene from the DC Movie That Inspired Mike Judge’s Hilarious White Collar Gang:
If only the criminal would stick to the office space scheme with small rounding errors accumulating over time. Although Ernie Castro would have been captured eventually anyway, he could have had a few more moments to try to buy faulty office equipment to destroy it in an open field.
The power of cinema can work in both directions. One day you have an office space inspiring TGI Fridays to get rid of flirting and introducing the term “ass clown” into popular speech, and the next day you have stories like this reminding us to think a little before committing crimes that are subject to two counts first-degree theft and an additional charge of first-degree identity theft.
You can watch Office Space on a streaming device of your choice if you have access to Hulu or AMC+ at the time of writing this article. Although we here at CinemaBlend should emphasize that if you want to get some inspiration from the comedy milestone, let it be an approach to your work with a zen state free from crimes, or the realization that it’s time to look for a new profession, if only because you are not completely satisfied with the one that you are currently studying. In any case, the crime does not pay off!