Former Microsoft Accountant Steals $1.1M; Sentenced 2 Years

Dennis Faas's picture

White collar crime may not always pay, but it sure doesn't result in heavy prison sentences, either. Last week a former Microsoft accountant found guilty of stealing $1.1 million from the Redmond-based firm received just a two-year jail term.

Ray Seal, a 54-year-old resident of Shoreline, Washington, was recently found guilty of stealing more than a million dollars from Microsoft while working as an accounts analyst for the firm. Seal was indicted late last year and finally plead guilty to the charge in May 2011. (Source:

Accounting Loophole Exploited

During the trial, federal prosecutors testified that Seal was able to take the money by exploiting a loophole in Microsoft's accounting platform back in 2003. He later laundered the money he acquired. The crime was not discovered until well after he left the company way back in 2004.

Seal, who had been associated with Microsoft since the 1990s, was motivated to carry out the crime because of a series of internal audits launched against him in 2003. He reportedly found that experience frustrating enough that he felt the company needed to be taught a "lesson."

Accused Forced to Re-Pay Stolen Cash

Initially, the "lesson" did not involve stealing money.

Instead, Seal says he planned to exploit the accounting loophole in question to better demonstrate the problem's existence, perhaps to win him some more respect within the firm. Seal says he originally planned to return the cash, but when he was fired in 2004, he decided to simply take the money and run.

When Microsoft investigated the issue and the FBI approached Seal later on, he readily admitted to the crime and promised to return the money he stole. So far, Seal has reportedly re-paid about half of his $1.1 million debt. (Source:

Last week Seal was sentenced to two years in prison for his crime and told he must continue paying Microsoft until the total sum stolen is fully re-paid. Right now the outstanding amount stands at $550,000.

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