BUSAN, Oct. 29 (Korea Bizwire) – A bookkeeper who siphoned money from the company she was working for after getting addicted to an internet broadcast has been arrested.
Choi (21), a bookkeeper at a shipping company, started work after she graduated high school in 2011. She was responsible for disbursing her coworkers’ salaries, as well as managing the company’s cash flow.
Her life seemed to be trouble-free until she moved out of her parents’ house and started living alone. She spent most her time away from work in a small room she rented near her office. She didn’t spend much time with her friends, and her pet dog was her only companion. That was when Choi found out about internet broadcasts.
Choi got hooked on a talk show run by a popular male BJ (one who runs an internet broadcast). She also started to divert money from the company’s accounts to help cover her living expenses. She transferred company funds to her account, siphoning 420 million won over a period of one and a half years.
Holding a large amount of money, Choi gave out ‘star balloons’ to the BJ host of the internet broadcast she enjoyed watching. ‘Star balloons’ are virtual items that viewers buy and give to BJs. The cost of one star balloon is 100 won, and Choi gifted as much as two or three million won’s worth of star balloons to the BJ every day.
Out of the 420 million won that she took, she gave the BJ star balloons worth a total of 150 million won. She also lent the BJ 50 million won, although the transaction is being disputed as he now insists that Choi gave him the money as a gift.
As Choi spent a large sum of money, her actions and words were influential on the internet broadcast, as the BJ shares the sales of star balloons with the internet broadcasting site.
When she was finally turned in by her coworker, she testified that she gave the star balloons to the BJ because it was ‘her hobby’ and ‘her way of stress release’. The other 200 million won was said to have been used for living expenses.
Law enforcement officials commented that she seemed to have continued to siphon the company’s money to buy the star balloons. They added that it appears as though she became addicted to the internet broadcast since she was lonely living alone in her small room without any social life other than work.
Choi was arrested on October 28 and charged with embezzlement.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)