Thanks to all you CAGs forwarding my story on, as well as some people from sites like Joystiq and Kotaku contacting Microsoft about my case after I and some of you passed this blog on to them, I got a call from an Assistant Manager from Microsoft just a few minutes ago.
He explained the situation to me in detail. What had happened is that apparently my old XBOX 360, which had gotten the RROD on January 1st, 2011, ended up back in circulation somehow. I'd simply taken it to Best Buy for recycling when I bought my new Slim 360 because it was out of the 3-year warranty period.
It somehow ended up in the hands of a hacker who used it to hack some high profile gamertags of MS employees etc. I got blamed for it as the IP address was still traced to the general area where I live (wonder if a Best Buy employee took it and fixed it rather than sending it in to recycling?), and my Gamertag showed up as the one most logged-into on that console--which is no surprise since I had it for over 3 years.
What they somehow didn't think to check until today was what the last log-in date for Gamertags on that old console was. Mine was of course January 1st, 2011 when it got the RROD. And this was well before the hackings committed from my old console occurred. Whoever got my old console couldn't sign in on my account as the HDD was wiped--and I'm not even sure I recycled the HDD at Best Buy. I think I held onto it a while thinking maybe I'd have a friend with an old Xbox who needed a 20GB HDD for some reason, and then eventually just tossed it.
So it was just a mistake on their part in investigating those hackings that occurred from my old console. It was just a huge coincidence that it coincided with my account being hacked and migrated to Russia this past fall. The banning for that hacking done with my old console just happened to come down in November 2011 while my other account was locked for investigation. Thus I didn't get any e-mail notifications about the banning until the investigation was completed, since the account was locked and no automated e-mails could go through to the attached Window's Live ID e-mail account.
So it was all a huge mix up, and it is still unreasonable that it took blogging this, you all spreading it around the net, and some reporters from gaming news sites getting in contact with them about my case to get it resolved. But at least they took care of the situation in the end. He also said they'd do more investigation to try to figure out how my gamertag got stolen by the Russian hacker and would keep me updated on that.
More importantly, they noted that they'd do all they could to be sure that the same thing doesn't happen in similar cases in the future. Which was my ultimate goal with my blog post and e-mailing campaign. I'm happy to get my account back, and a new console, but I'll be even more pleased if this awful experience never happens to anyone else!
So thanks to all of you CAGs who took to twitter, e-mailing gaming reporters etc. to get the word out. It takes a coordinated effort to protect the consumer from mega-corporations sometimes!