There is a long-standing question of how law deals with virtual property. Is in-game theft theft? Does a raid produce wealth of a taxable value? And then there are the questions that come from RMT, since we can translate in-game values to US dollars pretty easily. (Last weekend’s math: a set of City of Heroes’ new purple enhancement recipes was worth ~$200 at the going consignment house/RMT rates.)
Have you ever wondered if having virtual gold could get you arrested? Last month, the US government raided a group that set up its own hard currency, under the claim that having any competing currency to the US dollar is a federal crime and a form of counterfeit (no word yet about attempts to enforce this on people using loonies and pesos). Unlike your raids from the weekend, this one came away with literal tons of gold, silver, and copper
At what point does in-game currency become a competing currency that the government will attempt to seize? We already have at least one example of meatspace prostitution for cyberspace gold. Second Life has been bobbing and weaving about its relationship to property, but Linden dollars are more or less fully convertible to US dollars, and Project Entropia has bragged about how its currency connects to out-of-game value. Most games even refer to their currencies as gold coins or dollars.
The Secret Service has not let “it’s just a game” get in the way before. Nor are the Lindens protected by operating outside the US. Note that the IRS considers barter and in-kind exchanges to be taxable income, so the raid could also be done on the grounds of tax evasion.