Man who stole Goldman Sachs code gets 8-year sentence

The programmer stole source code to the company's high-frequency trading system

A former Goldman Sachs computer programmer has received a stiff prison sentence for stealing source code used in the company's high-frequency trading system.

Sergey Aleynikov was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of New York to 97 months in prison. A Manhattan jury in December found him guilty of stealing trade secrets from the New York investment bank.

Aleynikov had worked on the Goldman Sachs system for two years, when he took a job with another company, Chicago's Teza Technologies in 2009. There he was set to start working on a similar electronic trading system. On his last day at Goldman Sachs -- June 5, 2009 -- the programmer started encrypting source code files and then uploading them to a server in Germany.

During his trial, Aleynikov maintained that these were open-source files that he was allowed to copy and that he'd downloaded to meet an aggressive six-month development timetable set by Teza's management.

In an affidavit filed in connection with the case U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Michael McSwain said that Aleynikov had moved about 32MB of Goldman Sachs code to the German server in the last few days before he resigned. His Teza job was to pay him about three times the US$400,000 annual salary he made at Goldman Sachs, the complaint said.

Aleynikov was arrested on July 3, after meeting with Teza. Investigators found the Goldman Sachs code on his computer and another storage device.

The system that Aleynikov worked on was derived from electronic trading technology Goldman Sachs acquired in its 1999 $500 million purchase of Hull Group.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

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