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Federal prosecutors in Seattle have charged a former Microsoft business development director, Robert D. Curry, with three counts of wire fraud — alleging that he embezzled more than $450,000 from the company in part by fabricating Bing toolbar distribution deals and funneling the resulting payments from Microsoft through an unwitting contractor to a company that he controlled.

The charges (PDF, 12 pages) were unsealed in U.S. District Court in Seattle this morning. They follow a civil lawsuit that Microsoft filed against Curry earlier this year, making similar allegations.

Prosecutors say Curry used the money, in part, to vacation in Whistler, pay attorneys, and satisfy credit card debts.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement, “Microsoft takes violation of its processes and controls seriously and previously filed a civil action against Mr. Curry, which it intends to pursue vigorously. Microsoft has nothing to add to the information in its court filings.”

(Via and Associated Press.)

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