Seattle Court Jails Ex-Microsoft Engineer for $10 Million Bitcoin Fraud

The court sentenced Volodymyr Kvashuk to nine years in prison for defrauding his employer.

The Department of Justice in the US issued a press release on Monday and mentioned that a District Court in Seattle sentenced a former Microsoft software engineer to nine years in prison for charges related to his bitcoin scheme to defraud his employer of more than $10 million.

According to the official press release, Volodymyr Kvashuk, a 26-year-old Ukrainian citizen residing in Renton, Washington, started his career with Microsoft as a contractor and later on joined the company as an employee in August 2016.

As stated in the announcement, Kvashuk stole funds from digital gift cards while working in Microsoft and bought a $1.6 million home in the US, along with other luxuries by selling those digital cards online. He also masked the source of funds entering his bank account through a complex bitcoin mixing service.

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The press release cites that over the seven months of Kvashuk’s illegal activity he transferred around $2.8 million in bitcoin to his bank and other investment accounts. “Stealing from your employer is bad enough, but stealing and making it appear that your colleagues are to blame widens the damage beyond dollars and cents,” Attorney Brian T. Moran said in a statement.

“This case required sophisticated, technological skills to investigate and prosecute, and I am pleased that our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have the skill sets needed to bring such offenders to justice,” he added.

First Bitcoin Tax Case

Kvashuk was found guilty of filing false tax returns and claimed bitcoin as a gift. Ryan L. Korner, IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge, said: “The Volodymyr Kvashuk trial marked a big win for IRS-CI and the federal cybercrimes team. Kvashuk’s criminal acts of stealing from Microsoft, and subsequent filing false tax returns, is the nation’s first Bitcoin case that has a tax component to it. Simply put, today’s sentencing proves you cannot steal money via the Internet and think that Bitcoin is going to hide your criminal behavior.”

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