Microsoft Engineer Pleads Guilty to $10m Fraud Scheme

A former Microsoft engineer faces 20 years behind bars after being found guilty of attempting to defraud his ex-employer of $10m.

Ukrainian citizen Volodymyr Kvashuk, 25, from Renton, Washington, was initially a contractor for the tech giant before going full time there from August 2016 until he was fired in June 2018.

He was convicted on Tuesday of 18 federal felonies: 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.

According to court documents, Kvashuk worked on Microsoft’s online retail sales platform where he used his IT access to steal digital gift cards and other “currency stored value,” before selling them on the internet.

Although the amounts he stole started off relatively small, totalling around $12,000, they soon progressed into millions of dollars.

Kvashuk is said to have set up test email accounts under the names of Microsoft employees and used Bitcoin mixing services to hide his tracks and the source of the funds entering his bank accounts.

According to the Department of Justice (DoJ) over $2.8m in Bitcoin was transferred to his accounts over the seven months of the scheme. Kvashuk was also able to buy a $1.6m home and a $160,000 Tesla car.

“In addition to stealing from Microsoft, Volodymyr Kvashuk also stole from the government by concealing his fraudulent income and filing false tax returns,” said IRS-CI special agent in charge, Ryan Korner.

“Kvashuk’s grand scheme was thwarted by the hard work of IRS-CI’s Cyber Crimes Unit. Criminals who think they can avoid detection by using cryptocurrency and laundering through mixers are put on notice…you will be caught and you will be held accountable.”

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