back to article Former Microsoft tester sent down for 9 years after $10m gift card fraud

An ex-Microsoft staffer has been sentenced to nine years in prison after defrauding the Windows giant of more than $10m. The defendant, Volodymyr Kvashuk, had been found guilty of all 18 offences with which he was charged, including wire fraud, money laundering and "access to a protected computer in furtherance of fraud" …

  1. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge
    Devil

    There's nobody I hate that much...

    Microsoft gift cards, eh?

  2. Scott Pedigo
    Coat

    Volodymyr Kvashuk -- Is that Russian for....

    full load o' my cash?

  3. IGotOut Silver badge
    Joke

    Wow.

    That's like 99.9999% of all money "spent" in Microsoft store.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He drove a $160,000 car

    Flaunting your wealth is a good way to draw attention to yourself and get caught. A lowly employee pulling into the car park in a bigger & better car than the boss is a sign that something may be afoot.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Superman 2

      Just like the Richard Prior character in Superman 2!

      1. RM Myers Silver badge
        Coat

        "Just like the Richard Prior character in Superman 2!"

        And prior to that, he was called Richard Pryor!

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: "Just like the Richard Prior character in Superman 2!"

          And what really looked suspicious was that he then did exactly the same thing in Superman III as well!

      2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese
        Joke

        Re: Superman 2

        Richard *Prior*? That sounds like some sort of monk-y business

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Superman 2

        both keys.... at the same time??

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      But what's it for?

      Do you really want to steal millions to have a comfortable retirement? Although it would have been smart to stash it until you resigned, then scamper back to the Ukraine.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But what's it for?

        > back to the Ukraine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But what's it for?

          Scooter!

          Back in the Ukraine!

          1. Daniel Bower

            Re: But what's it for?

            <Back in the Ukraine!>

            That lesser known Beatles song, as yet unreleased...

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: But what's it for?

          Oh, "Crimea" river!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But what's it for?

            It's important though. For the unaware, the use of the article has political overtones.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Want to build a secure system?

    Think like a criminal.

    Unfortunately this wasn't built by such people.

    You can't deny he really "tested" the system though.

    1. Imhotep Silver badge

      Re: Want to build a secure system?

      Yes, I'd give him high marks for identifying and addressing vulnerabilities.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Want to build a secure system?

        He fell a bit short on the reporting side, though.

  6. Erik4872

    He just got too greedy

    Big company accounting rounds on 5 digit numbers for the most part. If something like this were carried out under the radar for years, it's very possible it would have slipped through the cracks. Showing up to work driving an insanely out-of-character car is probably the best way to get the forensic accountants on your scent. But especially in IT, and especially if you control both sides of an approval process, fraud can go undetected for years. There's tons of stories of regular old IT Joes stealing millions in equipment and eBaying it, all because no one was watching where the equipment went once bought.

    Once you've tripped the fraud sensors, that's pretty much it. Those irregularities that would otherwise have gone through the system will start showing up everywhere and there's nothing an accountant/fraud investigator will stop at to hunt them all down.

    Either be honest (best policy) or steal little, not big.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: He just got too greedy

      Quite often a small success emboldens the person to go for more and more. Almost classic. But thieving should be like gambling: decide you limit and stick with it, and walk out of the casino then and there.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: He just got too greedy

      Maybe Microsoft should have offered him a job instead, he could probably have identified a lot of other corporate accounting failures that are probably still going on.

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    So this is 50% of their testing staff gone then, right?

    1. Andy Non Silver badge
      Coat

      And 100% of their testing budget, hence end users doing all the testing nowadays.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Microsoft did not anticipate that testers would make test purchases of digital currency"

    Were they proposing to leave that bit of testing to customers?

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Trollface

      Bitcoin

      I am about to introduce a new variant of bitcoin called “Britcoin”.

      It costs a lot of GBP/EURO and, when the proud owner tries to use it after December 31, it is worthless.

  9. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

    Bitcoin mixing services are apparently reversible by the police now. Plus if your Bitcoin has been through a tumbler, it's surely dodgy.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Plus if your Bitcoin has been through a tumbler, it's surely dodgy.

      Fixed that for you. Maybe I’m just too cynical after the never-ending litany of stories about Bitcoin being used for crime.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Definitely over cynical. The total amount of fraud and crime occuring with regular money dwarfs that of Bitcoin.

        Ask Serco.

        To my knowledge nobody has been collared for the Great Serco Excel Heist of 2020.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Yes, but what is the proportion of Bitcoin transactions that are completely legal and above board?

          I would be willing to bet that a much higher proportion of transactions in BTC are dodgy than of those in, say, USD or GBP.

          1. DRue2514

            That kind of statement worries me. It is just the kind of thing that governments use to 'justify' banning or controlling something when it is not based on any real evidence. Go back 20-25 years and the perception of the Internet was that it was 'full of porn' or 'used by criminals' etc.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              It was, all I could ever find back then was porn, but that might have been because I wasn't looking for anything else :-)

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                It was all midget porn - everything was highly compressed

          2. Blitheringeejit
            Boffin

            Transactions, possibly...

            ...because there are far fewer BTC transactions than fiat currency ones. But I would be willing to bet that the *value* of fraud in fiat currencies vastly exceeds that in BTC...

  10. Howard Sway

    no safeguards were put in place

    You're telling me. Test systems should never, ever be allowed anywhere near real money or real other systems (assuming here for the purposes of this argument that bitcoin is real money). They should play with pretend money within a complete ecosystem of pretend systems. I would have expected a company of the size of Microsoft to understand this. But then it doesn't surprise me that Microsoft apparently doesn't understand this.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: no safeguards were put in place

      My rule is that if you can buy a car and a house with it - and they're not made of Lego - then it's real money. Real enough, anyway.

      1. khjohansen

        Hey, now!

        Lego cars and houses cost "Real Money" these days ;)

        https://www.lego.com/en-uk/product/lamborghini-sian-fkp-37-42115

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: no safeguards were put in place

      Exactly! Why test your real system when you can test a fake one you built?

  11. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    A victimless crime?

    I mean, to MS this is less than a flea bite. Shame it wasn't a bank, or he would have gotten a better job and a higher salary, and instructions not to tell anyone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      $9million is quite cheap for crap software testing these days. Track and Trace cost £12bn and ended up being a VBA macro.

      I'd argue MS got solid value for money, relatively speaking.

    2. jtaylor Bronze badge

      A victimless crime? I mean, to MS this is less than a flea bite.

      Yeah, "Couldn't happen to a nicer company."

      Unfortunately, the money came from somewhere. At the large companies where I've worked, budget problems are often solved by adjusting what the company has direct control over: their employees. And the pain usually flows down hill.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Testing can be fun

    I was once provided to a test database that was said to have been ‘sanitised’.

    Turns out I had direct access to 30,000 staff records, leave records, home addresses and their payroll (plus exec bonuses).

    I know, I was on there too.

    Tools down.

    Reported.

    Asked for a new data set.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Testing can be fun

      Cool story bro!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Testing can be fun

        If you worked in IT, you'd realise his story his completely plausible!

  13. Ashto5

    Bitcoin for crime

    Bitcoin has a full ledger of where and who touched it, look at Silk Road billions of $ just sitting there crooks know it’s being watched and will not touch it.

    Cash IS KING

    Untraceable and easily stored and spent as long as you DONT do as this muppet did and flaunt it

    1. hayzoos

      Re: Bitcoin for crime

      US Paper money has serial numbers. Drug residue detected on cash has caused people to be detained. Bloodhounds can detect an individual's scent on cash. Scent detectors are getting as good. How long before DNA can be detected as easily? I would say differently tracable, not untraceable.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Bitcoin for crime

        "Drug residue detected on cash has caused people to be detained."

        Just about every high denomination bill in the USA and EU tests positive for cocaine residue....

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