Bitcoin theft: Nine years in prison for ex-Microsoft employees

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This action is costing a former Microsoft employee dearly: For multiple Bitcoin theft with hacked accounts of colleagues he got nine years in prison.

The anonymity of the Internet attracts many black sheep, and the same is true for digital currencies. It’s only stupid for the criminals if the supposed anonymity turns out not to be as secure as initially thought. Now someone has had this experience, and one would think he should know better. In fact, a former Microsoft employee actually went online. He had scammed Bitcoin Millionaire to the tune of more than 10 million US dollars, as the US authorities explained in a statement.

He used his knowledge as a software engineer to hack accounts and passwords in order to swindle digital gift cards. He resold them online and used the proceeds to buy extravagant vehicles and houses in seaside locations. Now he sees bars instead of billowing waves, as he has to spend the next nine years under lock and key.

The identity of the culprit is known. The 26-year-old Ukrainian citizen Volodymyr Kvashuk initially worked as a contractor for Microsoft. From August 2016 until his dismissal in June 2018 he was employed by Microsoft. In February 2020, he was already convicted by a jury of multiple wire transfer fraud, money laundering, grand theft of identity, filing of false tax returns and in one case each for mail fraud, fraud with access devices and access to a protected computer to promote fraud.

Defendant used accounts of Microsoft colleagues

Kvashuk was involved in the testing of Microsoft’s online retail platform. He used this test access to steal currency stored value (CSV) such as digital vouchers. The Ukrainian resold the CSVs over the Internet. Initially, he only stole smaller amounts via his own account access. But then he also resorted to test e-mail accounts that were connected to other employees. He used a mixing service for Bitcoin to hide the source of the funds that eventually ended up in his bank account. In total, during the seven months of Kvashuk’s illegal activities, approximately $2.8 million was transferred to his accounts as Bitcoin.

This also made him guilty of tax evasion through false statements. The penalty was also so high because the culprit wanted to divert suspicion to others by hacking into the accounts of his colleagues.