Aleynikov, Former Goldman Sachs Programmer Rejects Plea Offer to Avoid Jail


Sergey Aleynikov was indicted September 27th on New York State criminal charges of stealing proprietary trading code from Goldman Sachs Group Inc during his employment with the company. He has been involved in years of legal battle with the company, after being accused of taking code used in Goldman’s high-frequency trading system with him in 2009 to Teza Technologies LLC, a company in Chicago.

Aleynikov was convicted in 2010 by a U.S. Federal court for charges linked to the same incident, and sentenced to eight years in prison. After serving nearly a year in jail, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appels overturned this conviction, and he was released. The federal conviction was reversed because the Justice Department did not definitively establish all elements required for prosecution under the federal Economic Espionage age. Specifically, they did not prove that stolen code was used in “interstate commerce.”

Aleynikov was arrested a second time in August 2012, this time charged by the state government of New York, only 6 months after his release. He remains at large on $35,000 bail, with permission to travel to Russia for a month to visit his mother who is enduring treatment for cancer. Aleynikov entered a not guilty plea in the case People v. Aleynikov, NYS Supreme Court, NY County, No 60353/2012, during the September 27th indictment on two charges of unlawful use of secret scientific material

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and one count of unlawful duplication of computer-related material. Manhattan’s District Attorney offered Aleynikov a no-jail time sentence in exchange for entering a guilty plea.

Kevin Marino, the attorney for the defense, rejected the offer on behalf of his client, and intends to pursue double jeopardy, prosecuting Aleynikov twice for the same offense. However, experts in the field believe the case will stand. NYS has a different jurisdiction than federal law, and elements of the laws involved vary slightly from the federal mandate, making it a more appropriate venue for prosecution. Aleynikov sued Goldman Sachs last week to obtain compensation for his legal costs incurred in fighting this federal prosecution.