A $10 million dollar mail fraud scheme out of Renton

One ex-employee from Microsoft is being charged with stealing company money

A former Microsoft contractor who lived in Renton was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint for allegedly attempting to steal $10 million in digital currency from the company.

U.S. Attorney Brian T. Morgan alleges the suspect purchased a $1.6 million lakefront home and a $160,000 Tesla vehicle with some of the stolen money.

According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Volodymyr Kvashuk, a Ukrainian citizen living in Renton, was employed at Microsoft since August 2016. He was fired in June 2018.

Kvashuk job duties included testing Microsoft’s online retail sales platform. His job was to emulate the experience of a customer making a purchase, but was not suppose to involve purchases of gift cards or other currency stored value (CSV) which he allegedly accessed. He would allegedly purchase CSV and resell it on internet reseller websites.

The thefts began with amounts of $10,000, eventually escalating to millions of dollars. In the seven months of illegal activity, approximately $2.8 million was transferred to his bank accounts.

To cover his tracks, Kvashuk allegedly used test emails associated to other employees, masked digital traces of the sales and used a bitcoin mixing service to hide where the funds came from.

Microsoft investigators confronted Kvashuk about the thefts in May 2018 and he was fired by the company in June 2018.

Kvashuk made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Tuesday, July 16 and is detained pending a further hearing on Friday July 19, 2019.

Mail fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s Western Area Cyber Crime Unit, according to the press release.

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