A former Microsoft software engineer has been sentenced to nine years in prison for 18 felonies related to his scheme to defraud Microsoft of more than $10 million in digital value such as gift cards.
26 year old Volodymyr Kvashuk, who is a Ukrainian citizen living in Renton, WA, used the stolen money to pay for an extravagant lifestyle which included a $160,000 Tesla and a 1.6 million dollar waterfront home.
Volodymyr Kvashuk began his career at Microsoft as a contractor before he was hired on permanently in 2016.
From 2016 to June 2018, when his fraud was discovered and his employment was terminated, he abused the accounts and passwords of other employees to obtain gift cards which he sold online to pay for his extravagant lifestyle.
His job at Microsoft involved testing Microsoft’s online retail sales platform – which he used as a way to steal “currency stored value” (CSV) such as digital gift cards.
Kvaschuk first started with a $12,000 theft in which he used his own account to access and steal the funds.
He then started facilitating the fraud through test email accounts associated with other employees and coworkers.
To hide the large amount of theft, Kbashuk used a bitcoin “mixing” service to try and hide the source of the funds which prosecutors say ultimately landed in his bank account.
During his time as an employee of Microsoft, the corrupt technician’s illegal activity amounted to approximately $2.8 million in bitcoin which was transferred to his bank and investment accounts.
Furthermore, Kvashuk filed fraudulent tax returns stating that the funds were a “gift from a relative.”
When confronted with his fraudulent activity, Kvashuk tried to lie his way out of trouble by blaming his coworkers and stating that “he did not intend to defraud Microsoft,” claiming he was working on a “special project to benefit the company.”
In their sentencing memo, prosecutors said: “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 CSV. 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,” they added.
US attorney Brian Moran commented: “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.”
After a five day jury trial, Kvashuck was convicted 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.
At the end of his prison term, Kvashuk is facing deportation and is ordered to pay $8.34 million in restitution.