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Ex-MS worker jailed for black market racket

17 months for raiding internal store

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A former Microsoft worker was sent to jail for 17 months yesterday after admitting she stole software valued at $6 million from Microsoft's internal store.

Kori Robin Brown, 31, of Spokane in Washington, will also be subject to a three year supervision order following her release, under a sentence imposed yesterday by US District Judge Marsha J. Pechman. Brown, a former administrative assistant in Microsoft's Xbox video console and games division, pleaded guilty to mail fraud charges in July.

Prosecutors said Brown ordered more than $6 million worth of Microsoft's SQL Server database software and sold it for between $50,000 and $100,000 between 1998 and 2000.

Her crime came to light during a wider investigation into another black-market software racket organised from Microsoft's own Redmond campus.

This investigation began last December when MS worker Daniel Feussner was charged with stealing $9 million in software, which he used to fund a lavish lifestyle, including buying a private yacht and a Ferrari.

Feussner, a 32-old programmer, died in February after he swallowed anti-freeze.

In June, Windows project co-ordinator Richard Gregg was arrested and charged for allegedly stealing software packages with an estimated value of more than $17 million. Gregg has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges; his trial is due to begin on January 12.

Since last summer, Microsoft has introduced tougher internal procedures which mean workers need management approval before ordering software. ®

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