Microsoft ex-employee sentenced for software theft

Microsoft ex-employee sentenced for software theft

A former employee of Microsoft was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay more than $5 million in restitution for selling the world's largest software maker's products for personal gain, federal prosecutors said.

Richard Gregg, 45, agreed to a plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Seattle, where he admitted to ordering more than $13 million worth of software meant for internal use and selling it to pay off a mortgage and buy luxury cars.

Gregg, who worked at Microsoft until late 2002, had cooperated with prosecutors in their investigation, a fact that Judge John Coughenour said he took into consideration at the sentencing.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft cracked down on criminal theft in late 2003 and put in more stringent policies after similar incidents involving employees selling Microsoft's high-end software for personal gain were discovered.

Microsoft hired investigators and made changes to its internal ordering system in order to prevent future incidents.

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