Former Microsoft engineer sent behind bars for money laundering

Raymond Odigie Uadiale, age 41, is great with computers. Good enough to be hired by Microsoft as a network engineer. And good enough, according to the feds, to run a virus scamming ring that froze computers via a fake warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, charged people a $200 "fine" to unlock their laptops, and warned users they might be sent to prison if they didn't pay up.

Instead, it's Uadiale who's going to jail. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced Tuesday that Uadiale of Maple Valley, Washington, pled guilty to two counts of money laundering after admitting that while he was a Florida International University grad student, he was secretly running a computer "ransomware" scam that used a virus called "Reveton" to lock people's computers and demanded money to unlock them. Uadiale, who also went by the name "Mike Roland," will serve 18 months in prison after laundering nearly $100,000 to a co-conspirator in the United Kingdom identified only by the online handle "K!NG."

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Greenberg for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, made the announcement.

“By cashing out and then laundering victim payments, Raymond Uadiale played an essential role in an international criminal operation that victimized unsuspecting Americans by infecting their computers with malicious ransomware,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Brian Benczkowski announced. Uadiale pleaded guilty June 4.

The indictment charged Uadiale with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of substantive money laundering. As part of the plea agreement, the government dismissed the substantive count. In addition to his prison sentence, Uadiale was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.

The ransomware in question executes on PCs and encrypts system files. A message is then shown on the home screen which claims that the user has violated federal law and downloaded illegal content.