Ex-Goldman Sachs Programmer Convicted of Code Theft

Sergei Aleynikov faces a sentence of up to 15 tears for stealing sophisticated software used to execute trades.

Paul McDougall

December 10, 2010

1 Min Read
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A Russian computer programmer accused of stealing sensitive trading code from investment bank Goldman Sachs was found guilty on Friday.

A Manhattan federal court jury convicted Sergey Aleynikov, 40, of theft of trade secrets and transportation of stolen property in interstate and foreign commerce. The North Caldwell, N.J. resident now faces a prison term of up to 15 years when he is sentenced on March 18.

While awaiting trial on charges of fraud and theft of trade secrets, Aleynikov was not allowed to access any of the data he allegedly stole. He was also barred from traveling beyond the New York City metro area and authorities monitored his computer use.

According to the original criminal complaint against Aleynikov, he "copied, without authorization, proprietary computer code belonging to a financial institution in the United States and then uploaded the code to a computer server in Germany."

The code in question was part of a computer program that Goldman used to execute trades at the best possible prices.

"The financial institution has devoted substantial resources to developing and maintaining a computer platform that allows the financial institution to engage in sophisticated, high-speed, and high-volume trades on various stock and commodities markets," according to the original complaint Aleynikov, which was filed in July, 2009.

The programmer joined Goldman Sachs in May, 2007, and was paid an annual salary of $400,000, according to records.

He was apprehended after Goldman Sachs noticed large amounts of data being uploaded from its servers via HTTPS transfers. The uploads, 32 MB in total, were ultimately traced to Aleynikov's workstation, the complaint stated.

Prosecutors alleged that Aleynikov carried out the theft between June 1 and July 3, 2008.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

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