Science & Technology Law

Calling Goldman Sachs Code Thief's Crime 'Economic Espionage,' Judge Gives Him 8 Years

Discussing in a presentence investigation report an appropriate sentence for a 41-year-old former programmer for the Goldman Sachs investment bank who took proprietary source code before leaving for another job, the probation department recommended a two-year term.

But a federal judge gave Sergey Aleynikov eight years, calling his crime a form of “economic espionage,” reports the DealBook blog of the New York Times.

The government had asked for 10 years in the Manhattan federal court case.

Goldman had paid Aleynikov about $400,000 a year to create the algorithm-based trading code that helped the bank make a profit by buying and selling large numbers of shares based on small changes in prices.

Aleynikov apologized and said he hadn’t intended to profit by taking the code.

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