Former Microsoft Director of Sports Marketing Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
Used Position to Embezzle more than $750,000 and Sell $200,000 Worth of Microsoft Super Bowl Tickets for Personal Profit
The former Director of Sports Marketing and Alliances at Microsoft pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to wire fraud for his scheme to profit by stealing from Microsoft, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. JEFF TRAN, a/k/a TRUNG TRAN, 45 of Seattle, used his position at Microsoft to attempt to steal more than $1.5 million through the creation and submission of fraudulent invoices and the unauthorized use of other Microsoft assets. Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez scheduled sentencing for May 10, 2019.
According to the plea agreement and other records in the case, TRAN oversaw Microsoft’s promotional relationship with the National Football League (NFL). In March 2017, TRAN caused a fraudulent $775,000 invoice to be issued to Microsoft, supposedly for services related to the 2017 Super Bowl. Tran caused the $775,000 payment from Microsoft to be routed through two Microsoft vendors and then to Tran’s personal bank account. Tran then attempted to cause Microsoft to make a second payment for $670,000, based on another fraudulent invoice. Tran intended to route that payment to a company Tran controlled. When Microsoft vendors became suspicious of Tran’s activity and reported the conduct to Microsoft, Tran destroyed electronic communications and told the vendors to lie to Microsoft about the $775,000 payment. After Microsoft confronted Tran, Tran returned the $775,000.
Tran also stole blocks of Super Bowl tickets and Super Bowl Party tickets belonging to Microsoft. Because of his position, Tran was responsible for determining which Microsoft employees would receive Microsoft Super Bowl tickets. However, instead of distributing all of the tickets to Microsoft employees, TRAN sold over 60 of the tickets through a ticket broker and pocketed more than $200,000. In one instance, TRAN accepted payment from a Microsoft co-worker for Super Bowl tickets claiming that he had personally paid for the tickets – in fact TRAN was selling the other employee tickets belonging to Microsoft.
Wire Fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. The sentence of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of no more than three years in prison.
TRAN has already paid restitution to Microsoft of $1,036,000. No further restitution is anticipated.
The case was investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson.