A $10 million digital currency fraud scheme earned an ex-Microsoft employee a $160,000 car and a lakefront home in Renton, Washington. But karma came biting as he now must sleep on the hard prison bed for the next nine years with a view of his prison cell.
The Fraud Scheme
Volodymyr Kvashuk, a 26-year-old Ukrainian residing in Renton, Washington, worked as a tester at Microsoft. Kvashuk was assigned to test Microsoft’s online retail sales platform. While testing the platform, he found a few illegal ways of mining the digital currency used across the platform. From the backend, he stole digital currency in the form of gift cards or subscription/discount codes that could be redeemed for Microsoft products or gaming subscriptions and then resold them through various channels on the open internet.
Earlier in February, a federal jury had already convicted Kvashuk on counts of tax evasion, money laundering, and fraud charges. However, in the recent sentencing, the U.S. District Judge James Robart has ordered the accused to pay more than $8.3 million in restitution and serve a term of nine years for running his fraud scheme. Kvashuk could later be deported following his prison term.
The case investigations found that much of the money was stolen from email accounts associated with other Microsoft employees. Seattle U.S. Attorney Brian Moran said in a news release, “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.”
Before getting fired in June 2018, and after the incident came to light, Kvashuk made quite a fortune from the fraudulent money laundering scheme. He splurged on a lavish lifestyle, which includes a Tesla car worth $160,000 and a $1.7 million lakefront home. But as all good things come to an end, all bad things also come to an end.