Former Microsoft staffer allegedly stole $10m in digital currency from company

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A FORMER Microsoft staffer has been arrested and charged with mail fraud for allegedly attempting to steal $10m (£8m) in digital currency from the company. 

Volodymyr Kvashuk, a 25-year-old software developer and Ukranian citizen living in Renton, Washington, faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 (around £200,000) in fines, the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Washington announced this week. 

Kvashuk, who was a member of Microsoft’s Universal Store Team (UST) and involved in the testing of the firm’s online retail sales platform, initially worked for Microsoft as a contractor and was hired as an employee in August 2016, where he remained employed until he was fired in June 2018.

“Kvashuk was involved in the testing of Microsoft’s online retail sales platform, and used that testing access to steal ‘currency stored value’ such as gift cards,” the office said in a statement, adding that he attempted to steal more than $10m from the company.

Kvashuk then “resold the value on the internet, using the proceeds to purchase a $160,000 Tesla vehicle and a $1.6m dollar lakefront home.”

“Kvashuk, a knowledgeable software developer, attempted to mask digital evidence that would trace the fraud and the internet sales back to him,” it added.

“He used a bitcoin ‘mixing’ service in an attempt to hide the source of the funds ultimately passing into his bank account. In all, over the seven months of Kvashuk’s illegal activity, approximately $2.8m was transferred to his bank accounts.”

Microsoft’s UST Fraud Investigation Strike Team confronted Kvashuk about the scheme in May 2018 and he was dismissed the following month. The case is now being investigated by the US. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s Western Area Cyber Crime Unit.

“We do not confirm the statuses of current or former employees,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

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