Former Google Engineer Charged With Stealing Trade Secrets | NBC News Now
The judge insisted on imprisonment as a warning to the rest of the technicians.
Former Google Engineer Sentenced By US Court On Tuesday Anthony Lewandowski to 18 months in prison for stealing Google autonomous vehicle trade secrets. The offense was committed months before he took over a division of rival Uber Technologies Inc.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said, who was convicted on Tuesday after pleading guilty in March, said Lewandowski could be sent to jail once the COVID-19 pandemic dies down.
Alsup believes that the sentence, without imprisonment, would give «green light for every future brilliant engineer to steal trade secrets», comparing what Lewandowski took with «competitor’s game plan».
A 75-year-old judge who has been in Silicon Valley lawsuits for nearly five decades named Lewandowski’s conviction «the biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen».
«There were billions [dollars] in the game in the future, and when such financial incentives come in, good people will do terrible things, and that’s what happened here.», – said Alsup.
The prosecutor’s office sought a 27-month prison sentence.
Lewandowski demanded a year of house arrest at his home in Marin County, arguing that bouts of pneumonia in recent years would make him vulnerable to death from the new coronavirus in prison. His lawyers asked the judge to take into account that the investigators found no evidence that «Lewandowski used any Google trade secrets after leaving his job at Google».
Lewandowski copied over 14,000 Google files, including development charts and product designs, onto his personal laptop before leaving the company to strike a deal with Uber, where he briefly ran the self-driving car division..
Uber fired Lewandowski in 2017, then settled a trade secret misuse lawsuit with Alphabet by ditching the drone call and order project..
The dispute between the companies continues. Lewandowski filed for bankruptcy in March because he owes $ 179 million to Google for his criminal acts.
Last week, Google asked a bankruptcy judge to reject Uber’s argument that the company was not responsible for the $ 179 million payout..
Lewandowski, who now runs self-driving truck company Pronto, apologized to Google and said he plans to share his story with other tech industry professionals..
«Today marks the end of three and a half long years and the beginning of another long journey.», – he summed up in his statement.