Skip to comments.Programmer cleared of stealing code from Goldman Sachs
Posted on 02/18/2012 9:18:11 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin
Sergey Aleynikov has conviction dismissed out of hand by appeal judges after serving a year for copying trading software
A former Goldman Sachs computer programmer has been freed from prison after a surprise ruling from a federal appeals court quashed his conviction for stealing computer code.
"Justice occasionally works," said Russian-born Sergey Aleynikov, who walked free after serving one year out of a sentence of eight years or more.
Aleynikov, a naturalised US citizen who emigrated from Russia in 1990, was first arrested in July 2009 as he returned from a trip to Chicago to the offices of his new employer, Teza Technologies LLC.
Prosecutors accused him of taking trade secrets from Goldman Sachs in 2008 to help his new company gain an advantage with high-speed financial trading.
Aleynikov was found guilty in December 2010 and sentenced to jail the following March.
The highly unusual immediate dismissal of a conviction by the appeals court came in a case that tested the boundaries of what can be considered a crime as companies seek to protect their intellectual property from competitors.
A three-judge appeals panel heard arguments on Thursday but the judges gave no indication they would overturn the lower court verdict hours later with a terse, one-paragraph order. The court said it would issue a written ruling "in due course" to explain its decision.
Prosecutors have declined to comment. They agreed during a court appearance that Aleynikov could be released without conditions while everyone awaited the full appeals court opinion, unlikely to be released for weeks.
The government argued Goldman Sachs makes millions of dollars a year in profits from high-frequency trading and carries a competitive advantage over rivals because of the speed of its computer programs.
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
Since he was imprisoned for a year, is Goldman Sachs obligated to pay him for his false imprisonment?
I didn’t know this was a criminal offense. I thought IP was civil.
This story is about as wrong and misleading as can be. The only thing right in it is that the conviction was overturned. It turns out that government on behalf of their controllers Goldman Sachs charged and convicted this guy under a law that did not apply. It does not mean that the guy is not guilty in any sense. And he may be re-tried.
“Actually, he’s still probably going to be convicted.
The reasoning behind this order was that the judge thinks that the statute and jurisdiction under which he was charged was not just wrong but plain abusive. The guilty verdict was for the federal Economic Espionage Act, which the appeals judge *really* didn’t like. The judgment of acquittal means that he can’t be retried under that statute.
He will be retried and convicted at state level for an offense with much lower maximum sentence — most likely for plain criminal copyright infringement, because he has essentially confessed to it during his earlier trial and the appeals process.”
>>But is high frequency trading the real crime?
7 The merchant uses dishonest scales;he loves to defraud.
8 Ephraim boasts,”I am very rich; I have become wealthy.With all my wealth they will not find in me any iniquity or sin.”
>>It does not mean that the guy is not guilty in any sense.
Other than being a dumb-ass who’s empowering thieves to pervert the markets with high-tech dishonest scales?
Right. No guilt there. “Everybody does it”. Uhuh.
"We didn't truly know the dangers of the market, because it was a dark market," says Brooksley Born, the head of an obscure federal regulatory agency -- the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC] -- who not only warned of the potential for economic meltdown in the late 1990s, but also tried to convince the country's key economic powerbrokers to take actions that could have helped avert the crisis. "They were totally opposed to it," Born says. "That puzzled me. What was it that was in this market that had to be hidden?"