Former Microsoft engineer sentenced to nine years in prison for stealing $10 million

The former software engineer used other employees' accounts to steal things such as digital gift cards.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

A former Microsoft software engineer that was convicted for stealing more than $10 million from the company has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

The judgment, made by a jury, found that the charged individual, Volodymyr Kvashuk, committed 18 felonies. This consisted of five counts of wire fraud, six counts of money laundering, two counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of filing false tax returns, and one count each of mail fraud, access device fraud, and access to a protected computer in furtherance of fraud.

Kvashuk worked as a Microsoft contractor before becoming an employee in August 2016. He was then fired in June 2018 after the company discovered his actions of theft. 

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, during Kvashuk's time at Microsoft, he used his testing privileges to steal "currency stored value" such as digital gift cards. He then resold these goods on the internet, using the proceeds to purchase a $1.6 million dollar lakefront home and a $160,000 Tesla vehicle, the Department of Justice said.

When making these thefts, Kvashuk used three test email accounts associated with other employees in an attempt to mask any digital evidence that traced the thefts to him. These accounts, combined, purchased roughly $10.1 million worth of currency stored value.

"Stealing from your employer is bad enough, but stealing and making it appear that your colleagues are to blame widens the damage beyond dollars and cents," US Attorney Brian Moran said.  

"This case required sophisticated, technological skills to investigate and prosecute, and I am pleased that our law enforcement partners and the US Attorney's Office have the skill sets needed to bring such offenders to justice."

He also used a bitcoin "mixing" service in an attempt to hide the source of the funds that passed into his bank and investment accounts. Across a seven-month span, approximately $2.8 million in bitcoin was transferred to his bank and investment accounts. These amounts were then filed as gifts from a relative in his tax returns.

"Kvashuk's scheme involved lies and deception at every step. He put his colleagues in the line of fire by using their test accounts to steal [currency stored value]. Rather than taking responsibility, he testified and told a series of outrageous lies. There is no sign that Kvashuk feels any remorse or regret for his crimes," prosecutors wrote to the court.

Along with the prison sentence, Kvashuk has also been ordered to pay $8.3 million in restitution and may be deported to Ukraine following his prison term.

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