Former Microsoft workers face theft charges

Four former Microsoft employees have been charged with theft, conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering in connection with the alleged theft and resale of US$32 million of Microsoft software.

In a case filed by the U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle on Nov. 8, the four former Microsoft employees allegedly took advantage of an internal company program that provided any Microsoft software products free to employees as long as the goods were for business use. Instead, the four workers, Finn W. Contini, Robert A. Howdeshell, Alyson M. Clark and Christine J. Hendrickson, all of whom live in the Seattle area, allegedly requested thousands of software products through the internal program and then sold them for personal gain, according to the 33-page criminal complaint filed against them.

Contini and Howdeshell have unpublished telephone numbers and couldn't be reached for comment. Clark and Hendrickson also couldn't be reached for comment.

Contini, Clark and Hendrickson worked as group assistants at Microsoft, while Howdeshell was a project coordinator, according to the complaint. All four workers had access to the free internal software program, the government alleges.

Contini worked for Microsoft from September 1999 to February 2002, while Howdeshell worked there from May 2000 to October 2001. Clark worked for the company from June 1992 until last month, and Hendrickson worked there from March 2000 until June 2002.

The government alleges that Contini ordered 5,400 software products worth US$17 million through the employee program, while Howdeshell ordered 985 products worth US$4 million. Clark allegedly ordered 618 products worth US$1.7 million, and Hendrickson ordered 1,726 products worth US$9.7 million. Overall, the value of the alleged thefts was about US$32.4 million, according to the complaint.

The software included copies of Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Windows Advanced Server 2000, Exchange Server Enterprise 2000, SQL Server 2000 and SharePoint Portal Server 2001. The government alleges that the four former employees earned more than US$3 million from the sale of the products to middlemen, who then sold them on the secondary market.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Todd R. Weiss

Show Comments



Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?