- A federal grand jury has indicted Microsoft’s former director of Sports Marketing and Alliances for allegedly trying to create fake invoices for up to $US1.4 million, according to the DOJ.
- The indictment alleges that Jeff Tran tried to route fake invoices through two Microsoft vendors and that he scalped Super Bowl tickets Microsoft acquired through its Surface tablet partnership with the NFL.
- Tran was one of the people responsible for Microsoft’s relationship with the NFL.
A federal grand jury has indicted Microsoft’s former director of Sports Marketing and Alliances Jeff Tran for allegedly trying to create more than $US1.4 million in fake invoices, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday.
The indictment alleges that Tran, 45, tried to submit fake invoices and that he sold Super Bowl tickets that Microsoft had paid for, pocketing the proceeds for himself.
A big part of Tran’s job was to oversee Microsoft’s marketing partnership with the National Football League. The most prominent part of that relationship is the NFL’s use of Surface tablets on the sidelines of games. Last year, the NFL signed a renewed, five-year contract for the Surface tablets.
As part of its arrangement with the NFL, Microsoft was allowed to buy a block of Super Bowl tickets. It was Tran’s job to distribute them to Microsoft employees but the indictment alleges that instead of distributing them all, he took 62 of the tickets, sold them off for $US200,000 and kept the money for himself.
But what tipped Microsoft off was suspicions around some invoices, according to the Department of Justice allegations. As part of Tran’s job, he was allowed to authorise payments to some vendors. The indictment alleges that he had a fake $US775,000 invoice submitted through Microsoft’s vendors, subverting the payment to his own bank account. He is accused of trying to submit another, $US670,000 fake invoice as well, but when Microsoft’s vendors grew concerned about the nature of these invoices, they alerted the company.
Microsoft reportedly confronted Tran, the DOJ says, and he returned the initial $US775,000. The company fired him, a spokesperson tells Business Insider, saying, “When we learned of Mr. Tran’s conduct we investigated, terminated his employment, and then referred the matter to law enforcement.”
Microsoft is known to pay its director-level employees pretty well. The job may not pay millions, but a director of marketing at Microsoft makes on average $US195,000 total compensation and a more senior person makes closer to $US250,000, according to self-reported salaries at Glassdoor.
Tran will be arraigned on the charges in U.S. District Court in Seattle in the next ten days. Tran could not be reached for comment.
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