A former engineer at Microsoft has been found guilty of fraud to the value of $10 million, in which he used usernames and passwords of colleagues to embezzle digital currency.
Ukrainian national Volodymyr Kvashuk, a resident of Renton, Washington, was convicted on five separate counts of wire fraud, six counts of money laundering, and a number of other similar charges in the furtherance of fraud.
The frauds initially started with small amounts, which he allegedly continued to scale as he successfully avoided detection. The conviction means Kvashuk could now be facing as much as 20 years behind bars.
Notably, Kvashuk had been using cryptocurrency and laundering the proceeds through coin mixers to attempt to cover his tracks. According to RS-CI Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner, the case is a warning shot to other fraudsters and criminals who think they can evade detection through the use of coin mixers.
In addition to stealing from Microsoft, Volodymyr Kvashuk also stole from the government by concealing his fraudulent income and filing false tax returns. 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.
The case was brought following investigations from the IRS’s Cyber Crimes Unit. Described in prosecution as “a simple case of greed,” it took jurors five hours to reach their verdict on Kvashuk’s guilt.
The case highlights the fundamental misunderstanding many criminals share around cryptocurrency and digital assets—that digital currency is anonymous.
Bitcoin founder Dr. Craig S. Wright said that rather than true anonymity, digital currency offered privacy—but criminal activity could still be investigated through the audit trail written to the immutable blockchain.
Instead of anonymity, Bitcoin offers privacy. This means your identity isn’t always revealed, but there’s an audit trail should anyone want (or need) to investigate wrongdoing.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.