Jeff Tran, a former director of sports marketing at Microsoft, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and attempting to steal more than $1.5 million from his former employer using stolen Super Bowl tickets and fake invoices.
As part of his job, Tran was in charge of distributing Super Bowl tickets to Microsoft employees. Tran acquired and sold 63 game tickets and 93 tailgate tickets for a $208,200 profit, according to the guilty plea. In one transaction, he pocketed $12,400 after convincing a Microsoft colleague to buy tickets paid for by the company.
According to court records, Tran issued two fake invoices worth a combined $1,445,000. The first, worth $775,000, was wired to Tran’s bank account. Tran attempted to route the second payment to a company he controlled called Tranmerica, Inc.
In July 2017, when Microsoft investigators questioned Tran after the third-party vendors raised suspicion related to a second fake invoice, Tran destroyed evidence and asked the vendors to lie to Microsoft, according to the documents.
Tran, 45, paid back $1,036,800 to Microsoft, which reflects the full amount of the company’s loss. Prosecutors recommended a maximum of three years in prison as part of the plea deal. Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson. Tran’s sentencing is scheduled for May 10.
Tran was originally indicted on five counts of wire fraud in October, four of which were thrown out as part of the deal.
In his role at Microsoft, 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. In 2013, Microsoft inked a sponsorship deal with the NFL worth a reported $400 million.
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