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Computer Programmer Faces Serious Time

MANHATTAN (CN) - A former computer programmer for Goldman Sachs faces up to 25 years in prison on federal charges of stealing computer code for the company's high-frequency trading, and taking it to a new job. Sergey Aleynikov was arrested before he started the new job, prosecutors said.

The high frequency trading program made millions of dollar for Goldman every year since it bought the system from Hull Trading Co. for about $500 million in 1999, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

On his last day of work last year, Aleynikov, 40, encrypted and sent "substantial portions" of the code from his desk at Goldman Sachs to an outside computer server in Germany, then deleted the encryption program and his computer's recent history, prosecutors said.

He had already transferred "thousands of computer code files related to the firm's proprietary trading program from the firm's computers to his home computers, without the knowledge or authorization of Goldman Sachs," while he worked there, prosecutors said.

He expected to start a new job at Teza Technologies, a start-up company in Chicago, which hired him "to develop Teza's own version of a computer platform that would allow Teza to engage in high-frequency trading," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Teza is not named as a defendant in the indictment.

"On July 2, 2009, Aleynikov flew to Chicago, Illinois, to attend meetings at Teza's offices, bringing with him his laptop computer and another storage device, each of which contained Goldman Sachs's proprietary source code," prosecutors said. "Aleynikov was arrested on July 3, 2009, as he arrived at Newark Airport following that visit."

He is charged with theft of trade secrets, transportation of stolen property, and unauthorized computer access.

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