If you’re an Ibotta user, the thought may have occurred to you at some point, even if you’d never actually act on it – what would happen if you created additional dummy accounts using your own referral code, and collected a $5 signup bonus each time?

That thought apparently occurred to 34-year-old Victor Casillas of Brooklyn, New York – and now he faces up to 20 years behind bars for allegedly threatening a “Las Vegas repeat” on the Ibotta employees who caught on to his scheme.

FBI agents arrested Casillas on Tuesday, on charges of transmitting extortionate threats in interstate commerce. After Ibotta shut down his accounts, investigators say he sent a series of messages threatening to kill Ibotta employees if they didn’t give him about $100 worth of referral bonuses.

According to the criminal complaint, Casillas opened his first Ibotta account in 2014, and subsequently “opened approximately fourteen additional accounts using various email addresses”. Ibotta quickly “concluded that they represented a potentially fraudulent effort to generate referral bonuses”.

Ibotta offers users a referral fee if they recommend the app to a friend. If that friend downloads and uses the app, the referrer gets $5 deposited into their account.

Early this year, Ibotta “attempted to resolve the dispute by issuing a $40 payment and closing the related user accounts,” the criminal complaint continues. Instead of accepting the offer, Casillas allegedly opened even more accounts.

So Ibotta closed the accounts. And then the threatening emails started coming in.


Over a two-week period beginning on September 26th and ending the day before Casillas’ arrest, Ibotta customer service representatives received several messages from a user believed to be Casillas.

“Such a cowardly act on your behalf whats your name btw? I wanna know who your spouse and children are too,” the first message read. “KEEP UP THE STALL, ITLL BE THE LAST TIME YOU EVER DO….” read a message sent the next day, along with a photo of a submachine gun.

The next day, the Denver-based company received even more chilling messages. “I AM HERE IN COLORADO…… I AM READY EQUPPIED AND READY TO STRIKE,” the first message read. “YOU HAVE TIL THE END OF THIS MONTH TODO THE RIGHT THING…. HOPE YOU VALUE THE LIVES OF YOUR (CROOKED) EMPLOYEES.”

A followup message included the names of three Ibotta employees, calling them “TOP TARGETS FOR SNIPER… NAMES OF FIRST ROW OF SERIAL DEATHS BY ASSASIATION”. The message included the names and photos of four other employees, one of which was labeled with the word “Decapitation”. “PLEASE TELL LOVED ONES TO START PICKING OUT A NICE BEAUTIFUL CASKET AND PLAN A DECENT FUNERAL,” the message concluded.

In the midst of all of this – as most everyone is well aware – in an unrelated incident on October 1st, a gunman opened fire on a crowd in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring nearly 500. And the disgruntled Ibotta user sought to capitalize on that tragedy, sending a message that warned “GET READY FOR A LAS VEGAS REPEAT”. “I STILL HAVE NOT RECIEVED MY G**DAM FUNDS… WELL GET READY 4 LAS VEGas part 2….MAYBE TODAY YOU WILL MEET YOU MAKER.”

By this time, the FBI was involved. Investigators escalated their efforts to identify the sender of the messages, tracking the IP address and GPS location information to an address in Brooklyn. And that’s where they arrested Casillas on Tuesday evening.

“He admitted sending the threatening communications at issue,” prosecutor Bridget Rohde told a federal judge, in a request to deny bail and keep Casillas behind bars until trial. “Threats such as those detailed in the Complaint herein placed numerous employees of the Victim Company in fear… All over a sum of money the Victim Company estimates to be little more than $100.”

In case you’re wondering, Ibotta’s terms of use state that users are not eligible for referral bonuses “if they create multiple accounts in an effort to earn referral bonuses for inviting themselves”. So don’t try it. And if you do, it’s best not to become unhinged if you get caught.

Casillas never did get any of the money he claimed he was owed. But no matter – it’s going to take a whole lot more than 100 bucks to get himself out of this mess.

Comments are closed.

Privacy Policy
Disclosure Policy