Carolyn Gudmundson, a former Microsoft manager who has admitted stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company, wrote a letter of explanation and apology, reports a post in Todd Bishop's blog. The story is a sad one of a high-paid, high-flying executive gone awry. Gudmundson has admitted to falsifying expense reports for domain names purchased on her corporate credit card. She admits to submitting the same receipts repeatedly for reimbursement.
The US attorney is recommending a prison sentence of two years and three months plus three years of supervision after release, the blog states. On top of that, the judgment against her requires retribution to the tune of nearly $1 million (or US$923,641.60). Gudmundson apparently used the money to support her mother and brother, but also to support a lifestyle she felt was befitting a high-level Microsoft executive. As her spending grew, she tapped into her existing assets before she heading down the path of embezzlement.
The blog quotes her as saying,
"I borrowed against my 401K, took loans and borrowed money to keep everyone going. Of course, there were all the items that go along with having a family, home and friends too. I was a big Microsoft executive and had to live up to those expectations."
The attorney's reaction to Gudmundson's letter is to say that she neither deserves leniency nor tough treatment. She had no prior track record of criminal behavior, she has a loving family who will be deeply hurt by her imprisonment and the US attorney implies she's not the type that seems likely to compulsively steal again. On the other hand, the US attorney also points out that unlike other defendants who are pit against desperate socioeconomic situations, Gudmundson was successful. She is educated and was on an upward trajectory at Microsoft, with a lot of legitimate options to make more money.
If such a thing as leniency exists, this is a case where it seems to be appropriate. True, there are likely people that steal for far more desperate reasons than living above your lifestyle to keep up executive appearances. But a defendant that admits her guilt and is unlikely to ever repeat this mistake should be treated more leniently then say, a CEO who profited while the company she steered tanked.