News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

LYNNWOOD RESIDENT WHO STOLE $457,000 FROM MICROSOFT SENTENCED TO FOUR YEARS IN PRISON
Woman Used Position at Relocation Company to Raid Funds Allocated for Microsoft Interns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2011

            MANYVONE PHANHSIRY, 33, of Lynnwood, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 4 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release and $457,000 in restitution for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.  PHANHSIRY worked for a company that provided relocations services to Microsoft.  She devised a scheme to steal money that had been allocated to pay for housing for Microsoft interns.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly noted that PHANHSIRY engaged in a “pattern of repeated theft and deception.”

            According to records filed in the case, PHANHSIRY was employed from August 2005 until June 2009, by Cartus Corporation as a Client Services Consultant.  Cartus supplies relocation services to a number of large corporations, including Microsoft.   PHANHSIRY was in charge of ordering and distributing debit cards to Microsoft interns who could use the funds placed in the debit card accounts to pay for their housing during their internship.  PHANHSIRY ordered at least 150 debit cards sent to her home, and then withdrew funds from the accounts by using the identities of more than 150 interns.  PHANHSIRY withdrew funds more than 550 times – about once a day over a two year period.  With the money PHANHSIRY purchased numerous luxury cars, paid for her wedding, paid for trips to Las Vegas and paid for plastic surgery.

            Microsoft and Cartus discovered the fraud when a former intern contacted Microsoft inquiring about a tax form he had received for a debit card account he had never used.  PHANHSIRY was fired from Cartus after an investigation revealed the extent of her theft.  Cartus repaid the money to Microsoft.

            Speaking in court today, Bruce Perlman, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Cartus Corporation, described how PHANHSIRY’s theft had damaged the trust between Microsoft and Cartus and put jobs at the Kirkland office at risk.  Had Cartus lost the Microsoft business, the office would have been closed and 55 people would have lost their jobs.

            In asking for a four year sentence, prosecutors also noted the damage suffered by the interns.  “All told, she compromised the identities of more than 150 Microsoft interns by utilizing sensitive personal information, including social security numbers to commit her crime.  Many of the interns were from foreign countries and may not be aware of the impact on them.  The interns’ nationality helped facilitate Ms. Phanhsiry’s crime.  Once they completed their internships and returned to their respective home countries, it was less likely they would detect the cards she ordered in their names.…  As a result, each of the 150 former interns could have faced tax consequences stemming from her fraud,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

            The case was investigated by the FBI.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary K. Dimke.

 

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