Jeff Tran, a former director of sports marketing and alliances at Microsoft, was indicted on five counts of wire fraud on Wednesday. Federal prosecutors allege that he attempted to steal more than $1.5 million from the tech giant via fraudulent invoices and selling Super Bowl tickets allocated for Microsoft employees.
Tran oversaw the company’s promotional relationship with the NFL, which includes the use of Microsoft Surface tablets on the sidelines during games and other marketing-related initiatives.
Prosecutors say Tran used his position to create fake third-party vendor invoices, then routing cash from Microsoft through the vendors to his own personal bank accounts.
Tran also used a ticket broker to sell more than 60 tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl that were intended for Microsoft employees, keeping more than $200,000 for himself, the charging documents allege.
In July of last year, when Microsoft investigators questioned Tran after the third-party vendors raised suspicion related to a second fake invoice, Tran destroyed evidence “to conceal his fraud,” according to the documents, and claimed that he had been “hacked.”
Tran will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Seattle later this month.
“When we learned of Mr. Tran’s conduct we investigated, terminated his employment, and then referred the matter to law enforcement,” Microsoft said in a statement.
In 2013, Microsoft inked a sponsorship deal with the NFL worth a reported $400 million. While Microsoft encountered some early hiccups with both the functionality and labeling of its tablets, the device has now become a mainstay on NFL sidelines, replacing the old black-and-white printed paper that teams previously used to review past plays.
Microsoft has done other sports-related work in recent years, a strategy that helps leagues use technology to improve their processes, exposes Microsoft’s products to more consumers, and helps improve player performance.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with Microsoft’s statement.