Sergey Aleynikov just got thrown in jail for 7 years for stealing Goldman Sachs’ computer code.
Aleynikov, a former computer programmer at Goldman Sachs, was sentenced to 97 months in prison at a federal Manhattan court for stealing the company’s proprietary computer code and will pay a $12,500 fine according to an FBI release.
The paltry fine again begs the question, is Goldman’s code even worth stealing?
However the seven years are a hefty punishment.
His counterpart at SocGen, Samarth Agrawal, only got 3 years for stealing prop code.
A jury found Aleynikov guilty on charges of theft of trade secrets and interstate transportation of stolen property charges on December 10 and he was given his sentence on Friday.
Aleynikov was at Goldman from May 2007 – June 2009 and was responsible for developing programs that supported the firm’s high-frequency trading. He resigned in April 2009 and started working for Chicago-based Teza Technologies in June the same year where he was hired specifically to design a high-frequency trading program for the company.
According to the release, starting June 5, 2009, his last day at Goldman Aleynikov transferred the firm’s trading platform code to an outside computer server in Germany. He encrypted the files, transferred them and then deleted the program he used to encrypt them and deleted his computer’s history. During his tenure at the firm he was also found guilty of transferring code files related to the firm’s proprietary trading program to his personal computers at home.
In a statement Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharra said:
“Protecting the proprietary information of America’s companies is critically important. Today’s sentence sends a clear message that professionals like Sergey Aleynikov who abuse their positions of trust to steal confidential business information from their employers will be prosecuted and punished.”
Mikhail Malyshev, founder of Teza Techonolgies told The Wall Street Journal that the company made all its employees sign an agreement that banned them from using proprietary information of other companies. The company had agreed to pay Aleynikov a base salary of $300,000 and a $700,000 bonus.
He also said, “we wouldn’t have taken Goldman’s code even if they gave it to us.”