Man secretly outsources own job to China

With someone else doing all his work, the software developer had plenty of time for cat videos, Facebook updates and bidding for items on eBay.

By Kim Peterson Jan 17, 2013 9:45AM
Image: Unemployed man (Rubberball/Jupiterimages)The American workforce has been hammered by companies shipping jobs overseas to save money. One man turned that trend on its head, however, by finding someone in China to do his job secretly on the side.

A software developer, reportedly in his 40s, sent his work assignments to China and spent his days goofing off on the Web. Outsourcing was well worth his time. He continued receiving his six-figure salary and paid only a fifth of that to a company in Shenyang.

It took a while for his company to figure out the scam. People there started seeing some odd connections to the corporate network from China and immediately thought they were under attack from Chinese hackers. They called Verizon (VZ) for help.

Verizon's risk team explains the issue on its website. The company had been slowly allowing more workers to telecommute, and it gave developers permission to work from home on certain days, writes Verizon's Andrew Valentine. The company began monitoring network access logs and was shocked to find an open and active connection to the network from Shenyang.

Those records showed the employee logged in from China, Valentine wrote, "yet the employee is right there, sitting at his desk, staring into his monitor." Verizon investigators found that the daily connections from Shenyang had been going on for months. They began questioning the employee, and pretty soon the facts came out.

Company executives were surprised because the employee seemed like such a quiet, hard-working fellow. He was a family man, inoffensive and "someone you wouldn't look at twice in an elevator," Valentine wrote.

So what does the workday look like when you've sent all your work to China? Here's how the employee filled the hours, according to Verizon:

9 a.m. -- Get into work. Surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos.

11:30 a.m. -- Go to lunch.

1 p.m. -- Start surfing around on eBay.

2 p.m. -- Update status on Facebook. Check in with LinkedIn.

4:30 p.m. -- Send an end-of-day update email to management.

5 p.m. -- Go home.

It looked like the man was running the same scam at several companies, Verizon wrote. He was earning several hundred thousand dollars a year and paid the Chinese company about $50,000 annually.

And he was known as one of the company's best workers. Valentine explains:
The best part? Investigators had the opportunity to read through his performance reviews while working alongside HR. For the last several years in a row he received excellent remarks. His code was clean, well written, and submitted in a timely fashion. Quarter after quarter, his performance review noted him as the best developer in the building.

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Tags: Mistakes
Jan 17, 2013 10:58AM

Make this guy the boss.  Brilliant.  The idiots who fired him will probably get inferior code from the replacement(s).


I would hire this guy in a second!  He is the "smartest guy in the room".

Jan 17, 2013 11:20AM
the boss always says "work smarter, not harder".  so he does and gets fired?  seems he had everything under control and completed his asignments on time just like his boss' wanted.  the problem is he's smarter than his boss'?
Jan 17, 2013 11:25AM

Only acceptable when corporations outsource?  Good for this guy, scam the scammers!!


Jan 17, 2013 11:45AM
Jan 17, 2013 12:25PM
This man should be made CEO.    He used his talents to be creative.   
Jan 17, 2013 1:55PM

Sure is one sided isn't it. It standard procedure for corporations to outsource, but a scam when an employee does it.

Jan 17, 2013 11:58AM
Pay him half to be project manager, let him find the folks and review code etc. Everybody wins.
This is what the "4 hour workweek" guy says to do. Wish I could figure out how..

Jan 17, 2013 2:34PM

If I were him, I would simply start up a software development company. He has everything already pretty much laid out and now he can contract with other companies and charge twice as much. 

Jan 17, 2013 1:24PM
best scheme i've seen in years.  bet the employer will miss his output...
Jan 17, 2013 12:26PM

Just as no good deed goes unpunised, so too will no smart move.  This guy will likely get his entire department fired . . . I mean outsourced.

Jan 17, 2013 2:42PM
It sounds as if the company lost it's best employee.  It also is a bit hypocritical.   Companies don't hesitate to outsource jobs overseas, but are horrified when somebody else does it to them.  It's not's just business!
Jan 17, 2013 4:35PM

Promote him...he is obviously smarter than the people he was working for!!!

Jan 17, 2013 3:00PM
I'm guessing the technical reason for firing was not so much that he outsourced his job, but that he  put confidential information into the public domain without corporate approval.  

And yes, anything you send to China becomes public domain, it's what they do, observe and copy.  While slightly unethical, there's nothing technically illegal as long as they properly reverse engineer.
Jan 17, 2013 12:30PM
Different strokes for different folks, I would have been bored to death without something truly meaningful to do, I was a software engineer for many years and found the work to be interesting and challenging, apparently he didn't, and yes, he worked smarter, but not smart enough to keep his job in the long run, now where is he.
Jan 17, 2013 6:45PM

High quality work, on time and on budget (I assume the last at least). The company did well with him. Of course, they could just hire the person actually doing the work in China and pay less. But the company wins, the employee wins, the US government wins (they still get the taxes), the guy in China wins. I guess the confidentiality issue may have been a downside.

I agree with the thought that if I'm not going to do the work, I don't want to sit in an office pretending to work. I would find a way to do something else productive.

Jan 17, 2013 3:56PM
Will they outsource everyone's work? This guy should be promoted, the company should want to keep him around.He would probably own the place one day.
Jan 17, 2013 5:57PM
If this guy is smart, he's probably sitting at the 19th hole about now, after a nice round of 18 holes.
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