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Ex-Microsoft engineer convicted of 18 felonies after stealing $10M in digital currency

Ex-Microsoft engineer convicted of 18 felonies after stealing $10M in digital currency

A former Microsoft worker was convicted of 18 federal felonies after he stole $10 million worth of digital currency from his ex-employer and used the funds to finance extravagant purchases, including a $1.2 million lakefront home and $160,000 Tesla vehicle.

Volodymyr Kvashuk, a 25-year-old software developer and Ukrainian citizen who worked for Microsoft from 2016 to 2018, took advantage of a testing program for Microsoft’s online retail sales platform. He made test accounts to obtain “currency stored value” such as Microsoft gift cards and then resold them online.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Kvashuk used a “bitcoin mixing service” to try and mask the source of the funds he was moving into his bank account. He also used test email accounts associated with other employees.

After seven months of illegal activity, Kvashuk transferred about $2.8 million in bitcoin to his bank accounts. He filed fake tax forms and said the bitcoin was a gift from a relative.

Microsoft investigators were able to crack the case and confronted Kvashuk in May 2018. He was fired a month later.

During the five-day trial, Kvashuk said he did not intend to defraud Microsoft and claimed to be working on a “special project to benefit the company,” according to the Attorney’s Office.

“In addition to stealing from Microsoft, Volodymyr Kvashuk also stole from the government by concealing his fraudulent income and filing false tax returns,” IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner said in a statement. “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.”

Kvashuk, who lives in Renton, Wash., 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; one count of mail fraud; one count of access device fraud; and one count of access to a protected computer in furtherance of fraud.

Kvashuk will be sentenced June 1 in U.S. District Court and faces up to 20 years in prison.

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