A former employee at Microsoft has been found to have stolen cryptocurrency and gift cards to the value of millions from the firm, before reselling them for cash online.
Ukrainian expat Volodymyr Kvashuk, who lives in Renton, Washington, is facing fines of $250,000 and up to 20 years behind bars after being charged on counts of mail fraud, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Washington.
From the proceeds of the thefts, he is alleged to have made several lavish purchases, including a $1.6 million home and a Tesla worth $160,000.
According to prosecutors, Kvashuk had intended to scam as much as $10 million from his employer by virtue of the access afforded to him in his role at Microsoft. They noted, “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 Attorney’s Office went on to say that Kvashuk “resold the value on the internet, using the proceeds to purchase a $160,000 Tesla vehicle and a $1.6 million 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…He used a [SegWitCoin (BTC)] ‘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 $2.8 million was transferred to his bank accounts,” according to prosecutors.
A spokesperson for Microsoft said Kvashuk was first confronted about the thefts in May last year.
“When we learned of this misconduct we investigated, terminated his employment, and then referred the matter to law enforcement,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Fox News.
After appearing at the U.S. District Court in Seattle this week, Kvashuk was detained, pending his next hearing scheduled for Friday.
Audacious in its nature, the crime is far from the first to have relied on BTC to hide illegitimate transfers. With Kvashuk on the hook for serious jail time and substantial fines, it is hoped the case will serve as a warning to those continuing to run BTC scams on unsuspecting cryptocurrency users.
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