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Roblox, one of the popular video game platforms having over 58 million users, is being used to launder money, states a new court filing.
According to the new court filing, over 300 Roblox users are allegedly laundering money using the in-game currency to buy fake in-game goods. The news came out of a proposed settlement in San Francisco federal court on Tuesday (28 March 2023).
The filing states, “They appear to be using the Roblox platform to send money to one another by purchasing fake items, a highly inefficient and costly means of transferring money which suggests they may be engaged in money laundering or other improper behaviour.”
The settlement is part of a nearly-two-year-old class-action lawsuit filed against the gaming giant involving the sale of in-game items between players in exchange for Robux (in-game currency). Robux can be purchased using actual US dollars. The case alleges that Roblox without any reason removed some game items from players after they had been sold. This deprived the players of the money they had paid for it and the item itself.
The new settlement document states that some of the Roblox users will not be eligible to get the $7.5 million settlement the company will pay to the millions of affected users once the case is settled. The reason behind this decision from the gaming giant is “suspicious behaviour.” Roblox had disclosed in a new court filing that it determined 311 accounts that spent over 80,000 Robux (over $1000) on the in-game items that were transacted between the same buyer and seller multiple times.
According to the statement from William Nevius, Roblox spokesperson, the company disagrees with the characterisation of money laundering and will respond to all the allegations by filing a brief in the coming weeks. William stated, “We have robust controls in place to protect against money laundering, which is not at issue in this lawsuit,” he wrote. “These exclusions were necessary because they represent a very specific use case and don’t meet the criteria for inclusion in the class settlement.”
In a previous filing from SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), Roblox stated that it had “structured” the game with “applicable laws relating to money laundering and money transmission services” in mind.
The senior editor of Common Sense Media, a non-profit organisation assisting parents, Jeff Haynes stated that such allegations of money laundering in Roblox are not surprising. “That’s because the platform sets the terms for its own currency, Robux, like the exchange rates for real cash and the pay rates inside their online stores,” he wrote in an email.
“Having that many fingers on the scale leaves them open for corruption or manipulation of the currency, and there’s no regulation aside from Roblox itself. The platform continues to be overcommercialized and inundated with bad actors. Roblox failed to meet our recommendations for privacy and security practices and until they have the necessary guardrails in place, it will not be a safe platform for kids.”