A Microsoft employee has just been sentenced to 9 years in prison, after stealing more than 8 million euros from the company. Volodymyr Kvashuk, a former Microsoft software developer, managed to steal millions from the company through “gift cards”.
The Ukrainian programmer, between 2016 and 2018, was integrated as a tester for the shopping platform implemented in the Microsoft online store. Its function was to make fictitious purchases, to ensure that the system worked correctly. Obviously, these orders were automatically canceled and Kvashuk never received the products.
But, he ended up discovering that the system did not prohibit him from buying virtual “gift cards”, giving him access to the real codes. This way, he was able to buy the cards with his trial account and then use them to buy products at the Microsoft store.
“Lie has a short leg” and the Microsoft programmer will spend 9 years in prison
It took 2 years before he was caught, but a generous list of blunders eventually led to the FBI managing to link the thefts to Kvashuk.
To test his system, the programmer used the first gift cards to buy an Office subscription and two graphics cards. Realizing that no one had stopped the products from being shipped, he decided to take his blow to a much higher level.
Between the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, he had already managed to defraud his employer by large millions of euros. At that time, Kvashuk did not use cards. Instead, he sold them online in exchange for Bitcoin, which he eventually raised through Coinbase.
According to information disclosed by the US authorities, Kvashuk made a profit of almost 3 million euros, which he used to buy a Tesla car and a mansion overlooking the sea, valued at 1.6 million dollars. Obviously, he got only a fraction of the amount stolen, because he was forced to sell the cards at irresistible prices.
FBI just needed to assemble all the puzzle pieces left behind by the con man
Although he began to be much more careful as the dimensions of his scheme increased, Kvashuk continued to make some gross mistakes that eventually allowed the FBI to make the connection between him and the theft to Microsoft.
First, the programmer used the same VPN on several occasions to access different accounts, allowing the FBI to create a connection between all of them. In addition, the magical Bitcoin fortune generated by Kvashuk was also crucial, since his ingenuity allowed correlating card thefts and their use to deposits in his account.
These were just the main mistakes that ended up leading to the final sentence of 9 years in prison to be served in the United States. After serving his sentence, he will be extradited to Ukraine. The sentence also included compensation in excess of $ 8 million, but it is unlikely that he will be able to pay that amount to Microsoft.
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