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Sentencing for illegal sales of software

Microsoft employee who illegally sold company software to gray market gets four years in prison.

A former Microsoft employee was sentenced to four years in prison Friday stemming from charges of illegal sales of the company's software to gray-market vendors.

Finn W. Contini, a former Microsoft group assistant, was also sentenced in U.S. District Court in Seattle to three years of probation and required to forfeit approximately $1 million in assets as a result of the software sales, according to Katheryn Frierson, an assistant U.S. attorney on the case.

Contini used Microsoft's online ordering system to secure free Microsoft software. The software giant allows employees to order Microsoft software for free providing it is used for business purposes and the order is approved by the employee's supervisor.

But Contini, and three co-workers who have since been sentenced, found a glitch in the ordering process that allowed them to secure the software without notifying their supervisors, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorneys Office.

Over a two-and-half-year period, Contini ordered 5,400 software products that had an estimated retail value of $17 million.

As a group, the four former Microsoft employees sold a total of 8,729 products with an estimated retail value of $32.4 million, according to the court filing.