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Microsoft Worker Jailed Over $10M Xbox Gift Card Fraud

Volodymyr Kvashuk, a former Microsoft worker who stole $10 million in Xbox gift cards, was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The feds captured him as he squandered his ill-gotten gains on a multi-million dollar lakefront home. According to official documents and his former Microsoft co-workers, he had plans to buy some properties, including a yacht, a ski chalet, and a seaplane.

The 26-year-old man exploited a bug in the company’s e-commerce platform to bag his mammoth haul, Bloomberg reported.

Later last year, a judge sentenced Volodymyr to nine years in prison after his multi-million dollar scheme went unnoticed for two years.

Volodymyr, who came to the US from Ukraine to major in computer science, was hired as a junior engineer at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, in 2017.

The young engineer was in charge of testing the e-commerce system that Microsoft uses to sell products, including online codes and consoles, to detect and report errors. However, he noticed a loophole in the payment testing apparatus.

Volodymyr found that Xbox gift cards purchased online and sent to an email inbox were not accounted for.

Microsoft Store sent a 25-digit code to cash in the Xbox online store to the man every time he bought one with a phony card. But Volodymyr did not report the bug to his managers and started trading tens of thousands of gift cards for Bitcoin.

Volodymyr used the gains to maintain his lavish lifestyle, buying a red Tesla Model S for $162,899 and a $1.7 million luxurious home with a boat dock on Lake Washington.

Bloomberg wrote: “Volodymyr started small, generating Xbox cards in increments from $ 10 to $ 100. But his haul of him quickly escalated. By the time federal agents caught up with him almost two years later, he had stolen more than 152,000 Xbox gift cards, worth $ 10.1 million.”

Official reports also said that Volodymyr guessed the passwords of his colleagues’ profiles to avoid being discovered.

Furthermore, the thief masked his Internet traffic by routing his servers in Japan and Russia. After the tech giant spotted an increase in online purchases from gift card codes and notified police, federal agents raided the engineer’s home in July 2019 and found a note about his future investments.

Volodymyr faces charges of 18 federal crimes, including two counts of filing false tax returns and two counts of money laundering.