Former Google engineer Anthony Lewandowski was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison for his guilty plea in March for stealing a confidential document related to Google’s self-management technology.
Lewandowski’s lawyers last week asked a U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of California to release him without any jail time, arguing that a year of house arrest, a fine, restitution and community service would be sufficient punishment. The federal government has demanded a sentence of 27 months in prison.
As he handed down the 18-month sentence, U.S. District Judge William Alsup said a non-custodial sentence would give “a green light to any future brilliant engineer stealing trade secrets,” according to a Reuters report. Lewandowski was initially charged with 33 thefts of a trade secret, downloading thousands of documents to his personal laptop in December 2015, shortly before leaving Google to work on his startup Otto, which was acquired by Uber for $ 680 million in August. 2016 In a legal basis agreement, Levandowksi admitted to stealing a document called “Chauffeur TL Monthly Updates”, which tracks the progress of Google’s “Project Chauffeur”, which later became Waymo. Prosecutors denied the remaining charges.
Lewandowski will not have to serve his sentence immediately, as Alsup decided he could go to prison after the coronavirus pandemic subsided, according to Reuters and other news.
Lewandowski also has to pay $ 756K to Waymo
Alsup, a 75-year-old judge who has been in the Northern District Court since 1999, described the stolen document as a “player’s game plan” and called Lewandowski’s theft “the biggest trade secret I’ve seen”, according to Reuters , “Billions [of dollars] in the future they were in the game and when these financial incentives are there, good people will do terrible things and that is what happened here, “Alsup said. Uber fired Lewandowski in May 2017 after citing the Fifth Amendment for failing to respond of the issues in the legal battle with Google.
Lewandowski’s lawyers argued that his detention at home was appropriate because he had suffered two bouts of pneumonia in recent years and was therefore at high risk of receiving COVID-19 in prison. Following yesterday’s sentencing, Lewandowski’s lawyers said in a statement that “Anthony deeply regrets his past decisions and although we are sad that he will have to spend time in prison, Anthony remains committed to his life’s mission of building innovative technologies to improve lives. of people, ”according to The New York Times.
Lewandowski, who filed for bankruptcy in March, agreed to pay $ 756,499 for restitution to Waymo, Google’s self-governing company, which is now a subsidiary of the owner of Google Alphabet. He was initially sentenced to pay Waymo $ 179 million, but was unable to do so. Lewandowski also has to pay a $ 95,000 fine.
Uber and Waymo agreed on a $ 244 million settlement in 2018. Lior Ron, another former Google employee who co-founded Otto with Lewandowski, settled with Waymo for $ 9.7 million. Ron is still the CEO of Uber, and Uber reportedly paid Waymo for the deal on his behalf.