Microsoft employee accused of $515,000 wire fraud

A Microsoft employee has been hauled up in court by federal prosecutors in Seattle, who have accused him of stealing more than $515,000 from the company.

Robert D. Curry is accused of three accounts of wire fraud, which prosecutors claim took place in 2010. They claim he created another company in a bid to invoice the software corporation and fleece it of the dosh.

He is then claimed to have used his “winnings” to splash out on holidays, pay off credit card bills and buy fancy equipment.

However, security experts have said that although Microsoft wasn’t entirely to blame, the problem could have been avoided if it had better security in place.

The feds are continuing their case from an original lawsuit filed by Microsoft. It said that Curry had managed to conceal cash and move it into new accounts between April and November 2010 by using an “unwitting” third-party – Microsoft vendor Pentad Solutions.

It claimed that Curry formed a fake company and billed Microsoft for “services”.

The company fired Curry who was the director of business development for Microsoft’s Strategic Partnership Teams in January after he was sussed out.

And things aren’t looking good for him. There’s already witnesses who are going against him. One is Pentad Solutions, which claims it was asked by Curry to send an invoice for a  speaker system to be used at a Microsoft event.

The Pentad executive paid the $49,800 invoice to the vendor, Resolution Audio, then passed the cost on to Microsoft.

He tried his luck again when he appointed Pentad to manage Bing toolbar distribution partners Blu Games and Resolution Audio.

Again Pentad was asked to make payments to these partners, with promises that it would be  along with a management fee. The result was three invoices amounting to $300,000.

According to an anonymous security expert speaking to TechEye, this sort of thing is on the rise.

“It wouldn’t be fair to put all the blame on Microsoft for this, although it could have been a lot more careful when it came to its security. It’s more a case of this becoming more common,” he said.

“Employees stealing from big companies is really nothing new. Before you used to find this occurring more in banks, but as technology such as memory sticks, history wipers and wiring has evolved, it’s become so much easier for employees in other industries to do this.

“Of course, it’s not just money we’re talking about. There’s been lots of cases of stolen confidential information, under the guise of hacking. while it Indian staff in call centres were stealing confidential identity information. These thefts, whether it be stealing from accounts to confidential information, are all monetary driven.

“Companies must learn to step up their security when it comes to this. An alert, which goes to senior staff when a USB stick is inserted or certain information is accessed, including bank accounts, could work here, or corporate firewalls which block access to this information should be installed.”