He was denied bail and held in prison, allegedly because he was considered a flight risk.
The only evidence was data in computers, and copies of the code found on the programmer's laptop computer.
Sergey Aleynikov worked for Goldman Sachs until June 2009, when authorities allege, he siphoned source code for the company's software on his way out the door to take a new job with another company.
The software was considered very valuable. It was used to make sophisticated, high-speed, high-volume stock and commodities trades, earning the company "many millions of dollars in profits" each year, according to the prosecutors for the case.
Aleynikov was a naturalized U.S. citizen who had emigrated from the disintegrating Soviet Union in 1991, and earned nearly $400,000 a year as a vice president with Goldman Sachs. His new job with Teza Technologies would have paid him about $1.2 million.
He was arrested in July 2009 at the Newark Airport in New Jersey as he returned from a trip to Chicago, where he had met with his new employers at Teza.
This means he had been in prison for 10 years before his trial and conviction.
And will mean that his sentence will just mean time already served.
The prosecutors asked for 10 years, but the judge only sentenced to 8 years. Not that it really matters, because either would result in no difference in outcome.
Prosecutors allege Aleynikov had several copies of the code on his laptop when he flew to Chicago to meet his new employers at Teza Technologies. Investigators, however, were unable to find any copies after conducting a search of the computers at the Teza company.
Aleynikov admitted to taking the code but initially told investigators that he only intended to collect open source software files on which he had worked, and that his collection of proprietary files on his last day of work had been inadvertent. His attorneys claim he never gave the proprietary files to anyone else and that the portion of proprietary code he took inadvertently was miniscule - just 32 of about 1,224 megabytes of code - and hardly constituted the company's "entire platform".
This is another example of the phenomena of "criminalization of information" in the legal system, as well as questionable interpretation of laws.
In this case, there is not really clear direct evidence that the "trade secrets" (in this case code data that constituted part of a computer program) were actually sold or given to another company, so the case is circumstantial in that respect.
This was a programmer for the company who already had access to the data. His presumable crime then was moving his company's data onto his own personal computer.