Former Microsoft sports marketing director given 28 months prison time for wire fraud

Defendant drug use, tragedy surrounded criminal activity.

Jeff Tran, a former director of sports marketing at Microsoft, was sentenced to 28 months in prison after he allegedly attempted to steal more than $1.5. million using fake invoices and by selling company-owned Super Bowl tickets for profit, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Tran, 45, was given his sentence on June 28, in U.S. District Court in Seattle. On top of his prison sentence, he will have three years of supervised release for his wire fraud scheme.

Tran oversaw the company’s promotional relationship with the National Football League (NFL) and was responsible for distributing company Super Bowl tickets to other employees.

Prosecutor’s said Tran secretly misappropriated $40,000 worth of tickets and sold them to a New York broker in 2016. In 2017, he did the same, taking $200,000 worth of company tickets.

Tran also allegedly created two fraudulent invoices in 2017. The first happened in March and after misleading companies that Microsoft worked with, $775,00 was deposited into Tran’s bank account. In July, Tran attempted the same, but the vendor became suspicious and reported the actions to Microsoft.

Court documents show that Tran returned the $775,000 to Microsoft days after being approached by the company on his behavior. And the other stolen funds returned after a plea agreement was reached between Tran and the government.

So far, Tran has paid more than $1 million in restitution to the Redmond-based company and will pay an added $50,000 judge-imposed fine.

In court documents, a time of tragedy for Tran is outlined and his increasing use of drugs to cope with the loss of friends and his mother’s cancer diagnosis. And defense attorneys argued that a custodial sentence of no more than 12 months was sufficient. The judge gave him twice as much.

“When Tran stole from Microsoft, the company was already paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to do a job most people would envy,” prosecutors wrote to the court. “Tran’s decision to steal when he already occupied a lucrative and privileged position makes his conduct more volitional, and the crime more reprehensible, than crimes committed by people who steal, deal drugs, or commit other crime to put food on the table.”

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